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A.L.O. E., 

Authofof" Fairy Know-a-bii" " The GolcUti Fleece^' " Ttu Giant-Killer;' 
*' The Rohy Family" <5r-v., i^c. 



2Sl, c. 125 

F my young reader have already visited Fairy dell 
Hall, and passed a few merry hours with Know- 
*a-bit, the learned fay, it is quite a natural 
thing that an introduction to Fairy Frisket 
should follow. I need explain to no one where these 
fairies have come from, — whether they lurk in flower 
or book, or only in some quiet little nook in the brain 
of A. L. 0. E. My reader will scarcely expect in his 
walks to see either Know-a-bit or Frisket spring from 
under a fern-leaf, or sit rocking on a hawthorn spray ; 
but he may, and very probably will, meet some other of 
the curious creatures described in my little book. It 
is as well to mention that my own knowledge of the 
manners and customs of the insects — both winged and 
wingless — herein described has been chiefly drawn from 
Knight's ''Library of Entertaining Knowledge," and 
Wood's delightful ''Homes without Hands." 

As for the two human specimens in the story, — the 
selfish and the unselfish, the boy who cared for his own 


pleasure only, the other who eared for the comfort of 
others, — they may be found in thousands of homes in our 
land, they — especially the first — ^are common enough 
in Britain, however rare fairies may be. If some 
spoilt little master have received this small volume 
amongst other Christmas or New Year presents, I hope 
that he may have patience to read it to the end ; and 
before he closes the book consider whether he would 
wish to pass all his days on a nettle-leaf of selfishness, 
or whether he would not rather — by his deeds, his 
words, and his example — show that he has undergone 
a nobler change than that which transforms the creeping 
caterpillar into a creature of light and beauty. 

A. L. O. E, 


















THE fairy's 0/PER, 


















blaOk spots, 



THE doctor's visit. 





















THE fairy's MISTAKE, 




THE fairy's visit. 

;ARAH — careless Sarah, there's not a doubt of the 
fact — you quite forgot to shut the window of 
Squire Philimore's study last evening, and to 
close the shutters and put up the bar ; and 
anybody that might take a fancy to get into 
the house could do so with ease. The squire is fast 
asleep in his big bed, dreaming of hounds and hunting ; 
and Master Philibert fast asleep in his little bed ; and 
all the servants in their different rooms : and so sound 
is their slumber that they would not awake if any one 
were to rattle a drum in the study. 

But that which comes in through the open window 
into the study causes no noise — at least none that the 


sharpest ear would hear. First there comes the soft • 
night-breeze, stealing very gently ; so gently that it 
does not make even the papers on the table rustle, and 
scarcely swells the curtain at all. Then there comes the 
beautiful moonlight, laying along the floor what looks 
like a strip of silver carpet, with the shadow of the 
latticed window-bars forming the pattern upon it. And 
there is something besides this ; something softer than 
the breeze, and fairer even than the moonlight. A 
pretty little fairy is perched on the window-sill, looking 
into the room. She is scarcely more than five inches in 
height ; so small that she might lie at full length in a 
lady's silken slipper and find it a comfortable sofa, and 
a girl might wear as a ring the slender gold belt which 
girdles the waist of the fairy. A wreath of tiniest 
heather-bells encircles her hair; if that can be called 
hair which is so fine that it hangs over the fairy's 
shoulders like a golden mist, which the puff of a child's 
breath could set floating upon the air. The little lady's 
dress is formed of petals of the blush-rose, fashioned by 
fairy fingers ; with a light robe of gossamer over it, such 
as lies on the grass on summer mornings, all fringed 
with diamond dew-drops. A violet would be large 
enough to cover the print of the fairy's footstep, if that 
tiny white foot ever left (which it does not) the lightest 
trace behind. The wings that spread at the fairy's back 
are such as the dragon-fly wears : they are transparent 

THE FA JR rs VISIT, 1 1 

as glass, and, as they quiver in the silvery rays, appear 
to be tinted with every hue in the rainbow. The light 
which comes streaming in behind the fairy throws no 
shadow of her figure upon the sill ; she seems herself as 
light as the moonbeams. The wand in her tiny hand — 
golden at one end, green at the other — is not much thicker 
than a horse-hair ; and the bag which hangs from the 
fairy's girdle looks exactly like one of the violet-velvet 
petals of a heart' s-ease, sprinkled over with gold-dust. 
In short, Fairy Frisket, as she stands in the moonshine 
peering curiously into the half^dark study, is as lovely an 
object to look on as any mortal could wish to behold. 

"This must be the place that I heard of; but oh, 
what a den for a fairy to hide in !" cried Frisket, in a 
voice high and shrill as the chirp of a cricket, but sweet 
as the night-bird's song. " Know-a-bit, Know-a-bit ! 
show a bit, show a bit ! After four hundred years spent 
apart, let brother and sister meet once again 1" 

And at the silvery call, up sprang, from a large red- 
edged volume which lay on the ledge of a bookcase, a 
tiny form, being that of a bearded fairy, dressed in cap 
and gown as a student, and with a minute pair of gold 
spectacles resting upon his small nose. Some of my 
readers may already have been introduced to the learned 
fay Know-a-bit, and have heard of his doings at Fairy- 
dell Hall, where he had lived amongst books and papers 
ever since the invention of printing. 


No sooner did Know-a-bit catch sight of Frisket than, 
with an exclamation of pleasure, he made a bound like 
a cricket towards her, while she flew like a butterfly 
towards him ; and the brother and sister embraced in 
the air as fondly as brother -and sister should do, whirling 
round and round in their joy at meeting, as two feathers 
might whirl round in a gale. Then they alighted on 
the squire's silver inkstand, which stood in the middle 
of his table, and gazed upon one another to see if ages 
had wrought any change upon either. 

Four or five hundred years is, of course, no great 
length of time to a fairy ; and yet it was clear from 
Frisket's face that she did see a change in her brother, 
and a change that did not please her at all. With 
manner rather too brusque for a lady — ^to say nothing of 
a fairy — ^Frisket suddenly cried, " What's this ? " darted 
at Know-a-bit* s spectacles, and pulled them ofi* from his 
nose. She then held them between her finger and 
thumb, and looked at them as you, dear reader, might 
look at a slug if found in your tea-cup. 

"What's this?" repeated Frisket; "and what can 
possibly be its use ?" 

" These are my spectacles, sister ; and I use them to 
read books with," replied Know-a-bit with dignity, as 
he pointed towards the well-filled shelves of the squire's 

" Books !" repeated Frisket scornfully. " Rusty, 


fusty, musty, dusty ! Better far that you should throw 
away these spectacles, as you call them — and that odd 
dress, with which I suppose you are mimicking man. 
Why, I do believe that you've crushed down your wings 
under that black gown ! When was black ever worn 
before by a fairy ?" 

" I confess," replied Know-a-bit mildly, " that I have 
adopted some of the ways of mankind. I suppose, from 
living hundreds of years under a roof, I have had so little 
use for my wings that I have not spread them since the 
death of Queen Bess, and scarcely remember that I 
possess them. I can bound very well from place to 
place without them." 

" Ay, in a tootyi ! " exclaimed Frisket with scorn. 
" You choose spectacles instead of free wings ; books 
instead of leaves and mosses and ferns and flowers ! 
You like to hear the mouse squeaking behind the old 
wainscot, instead of the lark singing in the- air !" 

*' You would rather have me sing," said Know-a-bit, 
breaking out into song : — 

" * Where the bee sucks, there lurk I ; 
In a cowslip's bell I lie ; 
There I couch when owls do cry : 
On a bat's back do I fly- 
After sunset merrily. 
Merrily, merrily shall I live now, 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.' " 

" Yes," said Frisket, more quietly, " that is a true 
fairy song." 


" Yet it was written by a man," observed Know-arbit 
" Ay, look as much surprised as you please ; but it was 
certainly written by old Will Shakespeare, whose bust 
you see there at the top of the bookcase." 

''^ How could a man — a son of earth, a beef-eating crea- 
ture — know anything about fairies?" cried Frisket. 

" And what does a fairy — a child of air, a dew-sipping 
creature — know about men ?" asked Know-a-bit, smiling. 
" Has my fair sister ever so much as heard the voice of 
one of the race?" 

" I know enough of them to dislike them," cried 
Frisket ; " and I don't care to know anything more." 

" Sister, sister ! is not that prejudice ? Is not that 
judging without knowledge ? Suppose that, instead of 
quivering your wings so scornfully, and looking as if 
you thought the squire's mahogany table scarcely fit to 
set your little foot upon, you were to give back to me 
my glasses, .and we two were to take our seats on this 
silver inkstand, and talk over the matter quietly to- 
gether. Would not that be better than disputing on 
the first night of our meeting ? Perhaps you may find 
that the human race, with all its faults, is not to be 
despised even by a fairy." 

Frisket could not help looking up to her brother. I 
do not mean because he was much taller than herself — 
by at least the breadth of a man's thumb — but because 
he had a calmer judgment, a more thoughtful mind. 


Know-a-bit had learned a good deal from his favourite 
books, and had perhaps made as good use of his spectacles 
as Frisket had of her wings. The lady-fairy closed those 
glassy wings — which folded neatly behind her back — 
restored the tiny spectacles to their owner, and sat down, 


as her brother had proposed, upon the silver top of one 
of Squire Philiraore's ink-bottles, while Know-a-bit rested 
on the other, the box to hold stamps being between 
them. The two fairies looked like ornamental figmes of 
Wisdom and Mirth adorning the inkstand ; but Wisdom 
was smiling, and Mirth had somethii^g of thought on her 



bright little face. The squire's comfortable study seemed 
like a prison to Fairy Frisket ; and it is scarcely to be 
wondered at that she felt the top of the ink-bottle a far 
less agreeable seat than a clump of green moss, or a 
down-lined nest, or the petals of a fragrant moss-rose. 




fRISKET. And now tell me. Brother Fay, what 
you can find in men or their works so charm- 
ing as to make you desert the green woods ? 
What joy can there be in this dull den, with 
its dusty piles of books, to compare with that 
of tripping it over the grass, rocking in the breeze on a 
trembling aspen, or watching the bees plundering the 
flowers of golden pollen, the spider spinning her silver 
thread, or the butterfly basking her wings in the sun- 
shine ? 

Know-a-hit I might say that I learn much from 
these books of the wonders of Nature in other lands, 
where the butterflies' wings are brighter and the flowers 
fairer than here in Old England. But I will own to 
you, Sister Fay, that I take pleasure in learning some- 
thing of the ways and doings, and in studying the char- 
acters, of human beings — men and boys. 

(450) .7 


Fi^ket Huge, heavy, gluttonous creatures, that 
actually prey upon sheep and oxen, and kill them for 
food. How honid ! 

Kumv-a-bit Do not look so much shocked at the 
idea. I do not see that it is worse in men to kill sheep 
and oxen for food, than it is for your friends the spiders 
to kill flies. The bigger creature needs the bigger prey, 
and feeds according to its nature. Philibert Philimore, 
the squire's fat boy, cannot dine, as you might, on a 
drop of sweet juice. The scent of the sweetest violets 
will not supply him with flesh, blood, and bones. He 
would starve upon dew ; and as for making a breakfast 
upon pollen, I should like to see his face if such a thing 
were proposed. 

Frisket Yes. From what I hear, these wretched 
human beings are full of all kinds of wants. A leafy- 
bough is a home for me. I can feast on the honey in a 
flower, and then make me a robe of its petals. If I 
choose to fly higher than my wings will bear me, I perch 
on the back of a lark, and enjoy its music as well as my 
ride as I mount up into the sky. If it rain, I can 
shelter me under a mushroom ; and if I require a light 
on a starless night, every glowworm is pleased to lend 
me his pretty green lamp. But mortals cannot be con- 
tented with pleasures so simple as these. They cannot 
sleep without a huge house above them ; nor dress, nor 
eat, nor move from one place to another, without such 


worry and scurry, such scanning and planning, such 
moiling and toiling, as seems terrible to a fairy. 

Know-Orbit Man is indeed a frail creature, full, as 
you say, of all kinds of wants. But there is to me 
something grand in that wonderful gift of reason which 
enables him to supply every one of these wants. 

Frisket. Man cannot fly like a bird nor run like a 
hare ; and if he dare venture into the water at all, the 
tiniest fish in the brook can excel him in diving and 

Know-Orbit And yet observe how man makes up by 
the powers of his mind for all his imperfections of body. 
He cannot fly, indeed, for Nature has not supplied him 
with wings j but if he choose to mount above the clouds, 
he forms a huge ball which he calls a balloon, and darts 
up higher than eagle can fly. He has no fins hke a fish 
to swim with ; but man gets wood to float and iron to 
swim, and fire and water to work his will, and his ships 
in a long race round the globe would beat any fish in 
the ocean. If man takes a fancy to dive, he dives in a 
bell : as he cannot hve without air, he cleverly carries 
down air to the very bottom of the sea. Man needs 
food of all sorts, and he gets all sorts. The leaf from 
this land and the berry from that, the birds and the 
beasts, the insects and fish, — -he makes all supply his 
table. Man requires clothing, and finds it on all sides : 
he takes the wool of the sheep, the hair of the goat, the 



fur of the rabbit, the skin of the mole, the feather of the 
ostrich, the silk of the worm, — all he prepares with 
wonderful skill to make his curious garments. Nor is 
this suflScient for man. England is not warm enough 
for the gTowth of cotton — a white down held in the 


seed-vessel of a yellow flower. Hills of this down are 
brought in ship-loads from far-distant lands in the East 
and the West ; and in a single year enough of it is woven 
ill England to cover, if needed, half the county of York- 


shire, with its towns and churches, its fields and farms, 
and much more than half a million of people. Truly man 
is a wondrous creature, and reason is a marvellous gift. 

Frisket But man is full of faults, as well as of wants. 
Sad stories of his wicked doings have reached even the 
fairies. Though the least scratch upon his skin gives 
him pain, it seems to be his delight to give pain. Ma^n 
flogs his horses, he beats his dogs, he hunts the hare, he 
shoots the bird ; and even boys — horrible to tell ! — will 
rob the poor linnet's nest, and torment the beautiful 
winged insects that fall into their merciless hands. 

Know-a-hit I fear that this, alas! is too true. I 
often wonder how those who so easily suffer themselves 
can bear to make innocent creatures suffer. But, if I re- 
member rightly, fair sister, even you yourself carry in your 
bag a little brush fashioned of wasp-stings, a touch from 
which would make any boy in England start and wince. 

Frisket I certainly own such a brush, but I never 
wantonly use my weapon. No fairy would ever be 
cruel. I do but keep the saucy hornets at bay when 
they come buzzing about me ; and I warn off the great 
elephant-beetles when they poke their rude horns into 
my leafy bower. 

KnoiV'Orhit You remind me of the song : — 

" You spotted BTiakea with double tongue, 
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; 
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong, 
Come not near our fairy-queen. 


Philomel, with melody 
Singing her sweet lullfiby; 
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm 
Come our lovely lady nigh. 
So good-night, with lullaby! 
Weaving spiders, come not near— 

Hence, you long-legged spinners, hence ! 
Beetles black, approach not near ; 

Worm nor snail, do no offence. 
Philomel, with melody," &c. 

Tliere's Will Shakespeare's poetry for you again 1 


FriaJcet Were it not for that bust up yonder, I should 
say that Will Shakespeare, as you call him, must have 
been a fair}' himself. 


Know-a-bit (laughing). You would not have thought 
so had you seen him, as I did, more than two hundred 
and seventy years ago, in the days of Queen Bess, when 
he came to this very house on a visit. Shakespeare was 
a man with a large forehead and a bright keen eye, and 
a mind brimming over with wit. Nothing of a fairy 
was he. Will Shakespeare was a mutton-eating, and a 
beef-eating, and a beer-drinking creature : there could 
be no mistake about that. He used to write in this 
very room some of the works wliich fill half the laige 
l30oks on yon shelf, while I sat on his shoulder watching 
his pen — for his fairy-wand was a goose-quill. 

Fi^ket He must have been one whom even fames 
would have liked to see. I suspect, brother Know-a-bit, 
that you whispered those fairy songs into his ear. 

Know-Orbit. No ; -they were all Shakespeare's own — 
every word. I had not then found out the spell, which 
has cost me hundreds of years of study, by which I can 
make myself visible, and my voice audible at pleasure, 
to any of the race of mankind. 

Frisket. Is that a secret which I may know ? 

Know-a-hit. The secret lies in this little tassel, which 
hangs, as you see, from my cap. When I pull it thus, 
I can be seen and heard by whomsoever I will. I be- 
lieve that I am the first fairy who ever possessed such 
a charm. 

Fi'isket. Had I such a chai-m, I never would use it. 

24 FA lit Y CON VERSK. 

I might, indeed, like to examine man s curious works, 
and peep into his amusing books — ^that is, if I could 
take the trouble of learning the ai-t of reading ; but 
with man himself I should not care to have anything 
to do. 

Knoiu-a-bit Now it seems to me that man is a more 
curious and interesting study than any of his works, or 
any of his writings. There is such wonderful difference 
between human beings, such strange variety in their 
characters and their conduct. For instance, there are 
two boys now asleep under this roof — Philibert Philimore, 
the son of the squire ; and Sydney Pierce, his young 
guest. Never were two beings less alike, though both 
feed upon mutton and beef The first is always thinking 
of self, the second always thinking of others. The one 
is discontented in the midst of luxury, the other pleased 
with whatever he gets. Philibert is ill-tempered and 
peevish, while I never yet have heard Sydney utter so 
much as a hasty word. 

FHslcet. You surprise me, brother Know-a-blt. I 
thought that all human beings were inclined to do and 
to speak what is wrong ; that their very nature is to 
fall into folly and error, just as it is the nature of their 
poor weak bodies to fall down if not supported; as it is 
their nature to need food, and sleep, and after a little 
while to die. 

Know-a-hit But just as man seems bom to struggle 


against the bodily weakness of his nature, to make up 
by his wondrous inventions for the want of wings and 
fins and claws, the lion's strength and the deer's swift- 
ness, so in some of the race there seems to be a constant 
struggle and victory over self. There is to me something 
very grand and very glorious about such a struggle. 

Frisket I do not understand what you mean ; I sup- 
pose because I am a fairy, and have never any trouble 
at all. 

Know-a-bit I will explain by means of examples. 
A poor man, named Garland, who lives at no great dis- 
tance from Fairydell Hall, saw some months since an 
idiot boy drowning in a stream. Garland plunged in at 
once to rescue the child : he risked shortening his own 
little term of life, in ord^r to save one who had not even 
the power to thank him. Here was a struggle and a 
victory over cowardly self Garland caught then a 
terrible cold on his chest, and suffered as mortals only 
can suffer. He lost his strength for work by day, he 
lost his rest by night, he lost the power to gain bread 
for his wife and six children ; and yet this poor sufferer 
never lost his temper — never, as I have heard, uttered 
one word of complaint. Here was a struggle and a 
victory over impatient self Man is a grand being when 
he forces earth, air, water, and fire to obey his will and 
do his bidding ; but he is a nobler creature by far when 
mastering fear, and temper, and pain, conquering self, 


rising above his own weakness, bearing what nature will 
not willingly bear, doing what nature will not will- 
ingly do. 

Frisket Did not his fellow-mortals help Garland, as 
he had helped the drowning child ? 

KnoW'O-bit Hear the end of my story, Frisket. The 
two boys Philibert and Sydney had each one piece of 
yellow gold. Now the human race have a curious power 
of turning silver and gold into all kinds of things which 
they fericy — even huge things like cows, or even houses. 

FHsket What's that ? what's that ? you amaze me ! 
Men must have very wonderful wands ! 

Know-a-hit (smiling). Men do not make these changes 
by the touch of a wand, like fairies, but by a very 
common-place arrangement, which they call buying — a 
thing never known in fairy-land, nor amongst any crea- 
tures except those that are human. But to return to my 
story. Philibert Philimore turned his bit of gold into 
toys and sweets for himself; Sydney Pierce turned his 
bit of gold into comforts for poor Will Garland. Sweets 
and toys would have been as pleasant to Sydney as they 
were to his young companion ; but the boy, like the 
man whom he helped, had a struggle and victory over self. 
When I see self-denial like this — self-denial which we 
children of air never can practise — mortals, short-lived, 
weak, subject to pain, and ready to fall as they are, seem 
to me to be grander, nobler, happier beings than fairies. 


Finsket I should like to reward that Sydney. I 
should like to stir his cup, and touch his eyelids, with 
the end of my wand ; for — 

The gilded rod of fairy- wood 

Gives sweetest taste to oommon food. 

Makes everything look fair and good. 

Know-a-bit You would need to be careful which end 
of your wand you used ; for, if I remember rightly, fair 
sister, the green end has a very different effect. 


It gives to food a bitter taste. 

Makes things look crooked and misplaced,. 

And where it touches, spots are traced. 

(Laughing). Perhaps Master Philibei-t Philimore may one 
day have a little rap from that end of my wand, or a 
touch from my tiny sting-brush, to improve his manners. 

KnoW'd-hit. What ! does Frisket then think of leav- 
ing her darling green woods, to give, as I do, lessons to 
mortals in a dwelling ? 

Frisket Lessons ! you never told me that these two 
boys had you for their fairy-teacher ! 

Know-d-bit. Philibert and Sydney come each mom 
into this study, and through the power of my wand I 
show them many a wondrous sight in a fairy-mirror. 

Flasket Why in this dull, close study? Why not 
in the free green woods ? Why not take them into the 
nest of the bird on the bough, the cave of the mole under 

28 FA m r CON VERSE. 

gi-ound ? Why not show them the wonders of Nature 
in Nature's own quiet retreats ? 

Know-a-hit That is to me quite a new idea ; but I 
see a little difficulty in carrying it out. These boys are 
hampered with bodies, a great deal too heavy and a great 
deal too large to mount into nests and to dive into holes, 
to creep where a caterpillar creeps, or to soar where a 
butterfly soars. 

Frislcet. Oh, those huge heavy meat-fed bodies would 
be much in the way, I own, but I know a remedy for the 
difficulty. (Pulls out of her bag a little box about the 
size of a mustard seed,) This is a box of fancy pomatum — 
the newest invention in fairy-land. The tiniest particle, 
rubbed on the temples, gives the mind power for one 
single hour to inhabit the body of any creature recently 
killed, to understand its language, and to enter its home. 
Through the charm of that fancy pomatum, the boys 
whom you love to teach may buzz through a hive as 
bees, or roam through underground passages as ants, or 
bury themselves like beetles, or fly through the air as 
gnats. This is a gift — and a choice gift it is — ^from 
fairy sister to fairy brother, on their first meeting after 
a separation of four hundred years. 

Know-Orhit. I am surprised and delighted with your 
curious gift ; but what can I offer in return ? Accept 
the tassel from my cap, which will give you the power 
to appear and to speak when you will to mortals. 


Ftisket Nay, I cannot rob you of that which has 
cost you ages of study to form. 

Know-a-bit All the difficulty was to discover how 
to form the charm. I cari multiply the tassels at my 
pleasure, and have another at the top of yon bookcase, 
hidden in the ear of Shakespeare's bust. 

Frisket Such being the case, I gladly accept your 
gift, dear brother, though little likely ever to use it. I 
intend to see these two boys, Philibert and Sydney, but 
never to let them see me. I intend to listen to their 
words, but never to let them listen to mine. If I stir 
their cups, they shall never know what makes the con- 
tents seem bitter or sweei If I touch their eyelids, 
they never shall guess what makes aU things bright 
with fairy beauty, or ugly, crooked, and dark. I will 
acquaint myself with mortals; but mortals shall not 
make acquaintance with me. I want to know more of 
these strange beings, so strong in their weakness, in 
their power of self-conquering so great, — whose little life 
seems to be a struggle against want, pain, sorrow, and 
evil ; but who, when they rise triumphant above all, are 
greater and nobler than creatures like us, who have 
nothing but ease and enjoyment. 




I T was, of course, a great pleasure to Know-a-bit 

to meet again with his faiiy sister ; and seeing 
Frisket revived his love for the greenwood, in 
^^ which he had sported in olden times, dancing 
under the beech-trees by moonlight. It was not 
difficult, therefore, for Frisket to persuade her brother to 
leave for awhile his study and his books, and to wander 
with her in the free air, with nothing between them and 
the glorious stars. 

"But really, brother, before we start we must look 
after your wings," cried Frisket. "How funny you 
appear in that black robe of yours, which I am sure that 
you must have dyed in the squire's ink-bottle ! You are 
hardly fit to be seen amongst fairies. Allow me to 
examine your shoulders ; perhaps a little slit in your 
dress would let out your wings. Ah, here they are, 
sure enough. I've in my bag the jaw of a rose-cutter 


bee, which I use for slitting and shaping the petals, 
which I sew up again with silk from the web of the 
spider.*' Almost before Know-a-bit was aware of what 
his sister was about, she had cut two long holes in the 
back of his dress. 

**Ah, that looks a little more fairy-like!" exclaimed 
Frisket, when, with tiny fingers which could hardly have 
spanned a filbert, she had pulled out, one after the other, 
two wings, glossy like her own, but not nearly so bright, 
nor so ready to quiver and glance. Indeed — if I may 
venture to say it — they looked crumpled, like a lady's 
dress that has been untidily folded, and then left in a 
drawer for years. " Give them a shake — a good hearty 
shake !" exclaimed Frisket ; "they are none the brighter 
or the better for not having been used since the days of 
Queen Bess." 

" Yes.; it is a curious fact," observed the philosopher 
Know-a-bit, "that all creatures are apt to lose any 
faculty which they suffer for long to lie idle. Now that 
I am going abroad, I must rub up the art of flying, or," 
he added, laughing, " I may have to take, like mortals, 
to a coach or a railway-carriage at last." 

Know-a-bit had not yet lost the use of his wirigs, 
though they felt at first wonderfully stiff! He had to 
fly two or three times round the study, to get them into 
good play, before attempting a longer excursion. In the 
meantime, Frisket replaced in her violet bag the sharp 


jaw of the rose-cutter bee, which was to the fairy what 
a pair of scissors is to a lady, and then fastened to her 
girdle the curious tassel, which had been the gift of her 

" Now I am all ready for a start V cried Know-a-bit, 
flying down from Shakespeare's bust, where he had rested 
for a second or two upon the broad, bald forehead of the 
poet, after pulling the second tassel out of its hiding- 
place in his ear. 

" Just pull off your spectacles, then ! " ciied Frisket ; 
" spectacles look as odd on the nose of a faiiy as they 
would on the beak of a sparrow." 

So Know-a-bit popped his tiny gold spectacles into a 
little pocket which he had in his dress, and merrily 
enough the two fairies flew away through the open 
yindow towards the leafy woods which surrounded the 

A great disappointment was in store for Philibert and 
his young guest, when they came as usual into the study 
on the following morning, to meet their fairy friend, and 
see the wonders worked by his wand. Philibert, in his 
blue velvet dress, strutted in first, followed by Sydney, 
in his plain brown stuff one ; the squire's son impatient 
for amusement, the widow's son eager for knowledge. 

Philibert went up straight to the large red-edged 
volume, in which Know-a-bit for many years had dwelt, 
and gave three taps upon it with his fat knuckles, as we 


rap with the knocker upon a door to ask. Is any one at 
home ? Philibert expected the learned fairy to answer 
his knock, but never a fairy saw he. 

" Why, Sydney, what ever has become of Know-a-bit ? '* 
exclaimed the boy in vexation. " Try if you can manage 
to make the lazy little fellow come out." 


Sydney thrice gently tapped the big book, but Kjiow- 
a-bit was not to be seen. 

"I'll make him attend!" cried Philibert, ready to 
stamp with impatience. He slapped the book, he banged 
the book, he snatched it up and shook it, and then, with 

(460) 3 


a burst of ill-temper, threw it down on the floor. Sydney 
quietly picked it up, and smoothed the leaves doubled 
up by the fall. 

"I am afraid that our kind fairy is tired of us," 
observed Sydney. 

''Then I'm sure that I'm tired of the fairy!" cried 
Philibert, who, like many other selfish people, let the 
first pause in the kindness of a friend take away all 
gratitude for past favours. 

Sydney was perhaps more disappointed than was 
Philibert Philimore, for young Pierce had been eager to 
question Know-a-bit on some subjects in natural history 
— a study of which the boy was exceedingly fond. 
However, Sydney knew that it would be foolish to fret, 
and wrong to be angry ; so he only observed^ as he re- 
placed the volume on the ledge of the bookcase, " Per- 
haps we are meant to find out that though we cannot 
have a fairy any longer to teach us, we may get a fairy's 
knowledge out of a book, and we may prize the know- 
ledge all the more if it cost us a little trouble." 

" I hate trouble, and I can't bear reading !" cried lazy 
Philibert. " If this tiresome fairy has taken himself off 
(he might have been civil enough to have given us notice 
yesterday), we'd better go into the wood and amuse our- 
selves there till Mary has got breakfast ready. Let's 
see how the workmen are getting on with papa's fine 
new summer-house under the oak." 


"What a delightful old house this is!" exclaimed 
Sydney, as the two boys sauntered out together. '* Your 
father was telling me yesterday that part of it — the part 
where the study is — was built before the Wars of the 
Roses ; only think what a long time ago ! The squire 
said that Fairj^dell Hall has stood so long, because in 
troublous times walls were made so thick and strong in 
case of attack. In these days, he told me, the moat 
round the house was full of water — not of grass and 
shrubs, as it is now — and there was a bridge over it 
that could be drawn up by pulleys, so that no one could 
pass over the moat without the leave of the master of 
Fairydell Hall. How strange it must have been to have 
lived in those rough old days ! " 

" They wouldn't have done for you," said Philibert 
Philimore ; " you are such a weak little chap, you'd 
have been no use in defending a castle. Strong jolly 
fellows were wanted then; not those that needed coddling 
and stuffing with cod-liver oil." 

Sydney felt the words of his companion to be incon- 
siderate, if not unkind. It was no fault of young 
Pierce's that his health was delicate and his strength 
small. He had seen enough of the squire's fat little 
son to know that, though Philibert might be far the 
stronger of the two, if it came to a question of courage, 
the weaker frame might hold the firmer spirit. Sydney, 
however, said nothing in reply, but amused himself 


with looking up at the strong gateway with the red msl- 
stain on the stone, marking where the portcullis had hung. 
The portcullis was an iron grating which could be let 
down suddenly to stop the entrance of a foe. The port- 
cullis itself, like the movable bridge over the moat, was 
gone, now that there was no longer fear of danger : a 
firm broad bridge had replaced the one ; and all that re- 
mained to tell of the other was the rust-mark, and the 
holes in the stone where the iron supports had been 
fixed. It amused Sydney, however, in fancy to recall 
the past, as he glanced up at the massive gateway, and 
the slits in the wall through which archers sent forth 
their arrows against unwelcome intruders, long before 
guns had been invented. 

" And then to think of Shakespeare himself having 
passed under this very arch !" exclaimed Sydney. '' I've 
thought this noble old place twice as interesting since 
hearing of his having paid it a visit" 

" I daresay that you've never read a line out of those 
big books with his name on the back of them," observed 
Philibert, as the two boys went on their way down the 
green velvety slope which led into the wood. 

" My mother has read to me bits out of Shakespeare, 
— beautiful bits about Mercy being ' twice blessed,' and 
about 'vaulting Ambition that o'erleaps himself, and 
falls on t'other side.' And oh ! now that we're amongst 
these splendid old trees, with their trunks all knotted 



and gnarled, and the green moss over their great strag- 
gling roots, it seems just the place to sing Shakespeare's 
song — perhaps he made it just here." And the joyous- 
ness of Sydney's heart broke out into music. 

" Under the greenwood tree 
Who loves to lie with me, 
And tune his merry throat 
Unto the sweet bird's note, 
Come hither, come hither ! 

Here shall he see 

No enemy, 
But winter and rough weather. " 



[OME on, Sydney, will you ; what are you stop- 
ping to stare at?" cried Philibert Philimore. 
'* An ant-hill. Oh! how curious it is to 
look at the little hillock, all alive with busy 
creatures ! How they swaim, and how active 
and lively they are ! There's one ant dragging a great 
bit of twig — I mean great for so tiny a creature to 
manage — and he can't manage it, poor little fellow ! 
He'll leave it — he'll give up the task No, no; just 
see : he has gone up to another ant ; he's tapping him 
with his feelers — I daresay that's his way of saying, 
* Please, old boy, come and help me ! ' Oh what fun! — 
there they both are at the twig; a long pull, and a strong 
pull, and a pull all together ! Well done, little ants, 
well done ! I am sure you work with a will." 

" Horrid, ugly little brutes ! I can't think how you 
are so stupid as to care to watch them !" cried Phili- 



bert. " I'm sure there's nothing worth seeing in an 

"That is the >eonclusion of ignoi-ance," said a bird- 
like voice from the branch of an old oak which spread 
over the green woodland path. Philibert and Sydney 
both started and looked upwards ; and whom should 


they see, seated upon a twig, but their learned friend 
Know-a-bit the fairy. He looked much as he had done 
when the boys had last met him in the study, except 
that his spectacles had disappeared, and that a pair of 
long dragon-fly wings were folded behind him. Sydney 


was SO glad to see his fairy again, that he uttered an 
exclamation of joy. 

" Man," continued the fairy, " is proud of his fine build- 
ings, his grand works of art, the houses which he raises 
by the help of numberless tools — ^the hammer, saw, 
trowel, and axe, the crane and the pulley, the lever and 
the wheel. Those little insects which you have the 
folly to scorn, with no tools but those with which nature 
supplies them, scoop out long passages and deep tunnels, 
and raise buildings story upon story — buildings which 
are far more wonderful and grand, in proportion to the 
size of the little workers, than St. Paul's or Westminster 
Abbey, or the great Egyptian Pyramid itself!" 

"You don*t mean that wretched ant-hill!" cried Phili- 

" I more especially speak of the labours of the white- 
ant, or termite, — an insect related to the dragon-flies and 
may-flies, rather than to the rusty-brown little workers 
before you. In Africa these builders raise nests that are 
sometimes twenty feet in height, and so strong that the 
wild bull can stand on the top to look out if danger be 

" What a famous ant-hill that must be ! " exclaimed 
Philibert ; " why, this little heap of twigs and withered 
grass would not support a cat !" 

" Pray, Mr. Fairy, tell us more of these curious white- 
ants and their habits," said Sydney. 



" The gigantic nests of these termites," observed 
Know-a-bit, " are each like a populous city, with its 
palace-cell for king and queen in the middle, and rooms 
round it for their guards and attendants, who are always 
in waiting. These rooms are joined to magazines formed 
to hold provisions, which look like raspings of wood and 
plants, but which principally consist of gums and sugar. 
*Near these are the nurseries." 

*' Nurseries 1" inten-upted Philibert ; " what kind of 
creatures are baby-ants? — do they wear bibs or pina- 

"Not exactly," replied the fairy. "Ants first ap- 
pear in the shape of tiny eggs, of which there will some- 
times be as many as eighty thousand in an ant-hill. 
From these eggs come little white pupae, which are care- 
fully tended, or educated, as we may call it, by nursing 
ants, until they are able to take care of themselves." 

" These are the boys and girls of the ant-city, I sup- 
pose," said Sydney. "But what are the king and 
queen like? Do they wear splendid colours to show 
their rank ?" 

" They are rather distinguished by size than by colour," 
answered the fairy. " The king of the termites is about 
twice as large as one of his soldiers, and ten times as 
large as a labouring ant" 

" How funny it would be if there were such difier- 
ences between human beings ! " cried Philibert ; " if 


King George haxi been twice as big as the Duke of Wel- 
lington, and ten times as big as his gardener." 

" He would have been a great king indeed/' observed 
Sydney ; and both boys burst into a merry laugh. 

'* Size is not the king's only distinction," continued 
the fairy : '' in his perfect state he has four laige brown- 
ish transparent wings ; but they adorn his majesty for 
but a few hours." * 

'* We may call them his robes of state," observed Syd- 
ney, " which he has very soon to put off." 

" To die," added the fairy. 

" I suppose that the queen white-ant is not nearly so 
big as the king, as she is the lady," said PhUibert. 

" Nay, there you are greatly mistaken," said the fairy. 
" In the hill of the termites, as in the hive of the bee, the 
queen, the great mother, is by far the most important 
person in the state ; and the white-ant queen, at one 
period of her life, is of size quite enormous compared to 
her subjects. She is thousands of times as big as one 
of the labouring ants, and so large that it is quite im- 
possible for her to get through the doorway of the cell 
which she had entered when comparatively small, so 
that her palace is also her prison. The queen, like the 
king, has for a short period wings, or robes of state, 
as we call them ; but this is before her great increase 
in size." 

" You mentioned soldiers, Mr. Fairy," said Sydney ; 

z. King Ant ; a, 4, 5, Neuters ; 3. Queen Ant. 


'* pray, do the king and queen of these termites keep a 
standing army of ants ? " 

" A regular standing army of warriors, of about the 
size of earwigs, who have nothing to do but 
to fight. Their weapons are powerful jaws, 
protruding from very large heads ; and with 
these they can inflict very severe bitea If 
part of the wall of their city be broken down, 
out rush the bold soldiers to defend the breach, 
ready to attack any invader; while the la- 
bourers, who have no fancy for fighting, take refuge 

" Like the women keeping safe in a castle, while the 
men are defending the walls," observed Sydney. 

" So stanch is th^ courage of the soldiers," said 
Know-a-bit, "that sooner than quit their 
hold on an enemy, they will suffer them- 
selves to be pulled limb from limb." 

" Well done, little heroes," cried Sydney. 

" When the fight is over," continued the 
fairy, " the soldiers leave to the labourers 
all the trouble of repairing the walls, as 
they had done that of building them. No 
soldier termite will deign to lift a burden, nor so much 
as look after one of the baby-ants." 

" Then I should say that, except in time of war, these 
big soldiers are useless fellows," observed Philibert. 



" Therefore, in the beautiful arrangement of nature, 
an ant-hill contains but one soldier to q,bout a hundred 
workers," said Know-a-bit. 

" I don't think that we have sa much as one soldier 
to a hundred other people,'* remarked Sydney. 

" These termites are very curious creatures, but I sup- 
pose that they are very useless ones," said Philiberi 

" They are of exactly the same kind of use to the 
Africans as your father s pheasants and hares are to 

" You don't mean to say that any one eats them/' 
cried the fat little boy, with a look of disgust. " I'd 
rather starve than dine upon ants 1" 

" White-ants are not only eaten, but they are con- 
sidered by the Africans a delicate 'dainty," said Know-a- 
bit. " They have been compared in taste to sugared 
marrow ; also to sweetened cream, and paste made of 

Philibert opened his eyes very wide on hearing this, 
and began to think that a dish of termites might be no 
such bad thing after all 



[ RE there many other kinds of curious ants ? " 
inquired Sydney. 

" There is a great variety of ants, both 
foreign and British/' answered the fairy. 
*' We have the dusky, the brown, the yel- 
low, and the wood-ant, on which you are looking now, 
and which is commonly called the pismire. But in 
other parts of the world are found many other remaik- 
able species ; amongst them the amazon-ants, which have 
the curious distinction of being a kind that capture and 
keep black slaves.'' 

'' Oh the naughty, cruel little creatures 1" exclaimed 
Sydney, who had a vivid recollection of what he had 
heard from his mother of the horrors of the slave-trade 
as practised by men. 

"Insects can scarcely be called naughty or cruel," 
observed the fairy, "when acting according to the in- 
stinct which Nature has planted within them." 

(450) ^ 


"Pi-ay, let us hear something about these amazons 
and their slave-catching," said Philibert Philimore. " Did 
you ever see them about it ?" 

" No, for I have never myself been out of England," 
Know-a-bit replied ; " my wings — fairy wings though 
they be — will not carry me so far as railways and 
steamers will carry human beings." 

" You might ask some traveller to pack you up in his 
hat-box," said Philibert. 

Sydney observed that the little fairy looked rather 
angry at such an impertinent joke, and turned the con- 
versation by saying : " I suppose that these amazon-ants 
live near the Amazon river, the biggest river in the 
world, which flows in South America." 

'* No," replied Fairy Know-a-bit. " The amazon-ants 
are nearer neighbours ; they are found on the continent 
of Europe, though not, I believe, in this island. A great 
naturalist, called Huber, had the opportunity of watch- 
ing an army of amazons, or, as he calls them, legionary 
ants, near the Lake of Geneva, in the country of Switzer- 
land, on a slave-capturing expedition." 

"And what did he see ?" asked Philibert. 

"Between the hours of four and five, on the after- 
noon of a summer s day, Huber saw a column of large 
iron-brown coloured ants going at a pretty rapid pace 
along a road. This column of ants covered a space about 
eight or ten inches in length, by three or four in breadth." 


** Then there must have been more than a dozen anta 
abreast," observed Philibert ; " but I suppose that they 
did not move all in order, like soldiers, right foot and 
left foot together.*' 

" Pray go on, Mr. Know-a-bit," said Sydney. 

'' In a few minutes Huber saw the column leave the 
road, pass a thick hedge, and enter a meadow. Full of 
curiosity to know whither they were bound, the natural- 
ist followed to watch them. There was the column of 
disciplined insects, making its way through the grass 
without straggling, going steadily on like an army of 
men under a human general, till it came near a nest of 
the negro-ant, which was at the distance of about twenty 
feet from the hedge.'' 

" And how did the negro-ants receive the invaders ? 
— did they show fight ? " asked Philibert Philimore. 

" Some of the negroes were guarding the entrance of 
their nest, and on discovering the advancing foe, dashed 
bravely forward to repel them. The alarm that an enemy 
was coming to attack them soon spread amongst the 
negroes ; more and more of the gallant little ants rushed 
out to defend their home ; then a fierce fight ensued." 

" Oh, poor little negroes ! I hope that they had the 
best of it," exclaimed Sydney. 

" If I'd been there, I'd have stamped my foot on the 
amazon-ants, and killed the whole army at once," cried 

62 AMA£Of^& 

Know-a-bit smiled at the foolish boast. The squire's 
son would have been afraid of a single wasp, and was 
little likely to attack a whole column of fierce-biting 

" After a short conflict/' continued the fairy, " the- 
negroes fled to their underground galleries, leaving the 
amazons masters of the field. The invaders now began 
making openings for themselves into the ant-hill ; and 
Huber soon saw the amazons swarming in where he had 
no power to follow them. In two or three minutes, 
however, they reappeared out of the nest, each amazon 
carrying a grub, or baby negro-ant ; and having obtained 
what they wanted, they returned the same way that 
they had come, only not in the same regular marching 

" And the poor negroes had been robbed of all their 
babies?" cried Sydney. 

" Not of all of them," said the fairy. " Huber, after 
watching for some time the homeward march of the 
amazons, returned to the ant-hill which they had plun- 
dered, and near it saw a few of the defeated negroes 
perched upon the stalks of plants, and holding in their 
mouths some grubs that had escaped the general pillage." 

" I'm glad of that," said the kind-hearted Sydney. 
* " But what did the amazons do with the baby-ants that 
they had carried ofi*?" asked Philibert. " Did they 
make a grand feast, and gobble them up ?" 


*' Oh no. You forget that the expedition was to 
capture slaves, not to procure food," answered the fairy. 
" Huber was curious, like yourself, to know the fate of 
the little prisoners. He found out the nest of the 
amazon-ants, and took his post near it to watch what 
would happen on the conquerors' return to their home. 
He was much surprised to see a nun»er of negro-ants 
come out of the amazons' nest to meet the victors, not 
as enemies to fight them, but like affectionate servants 
or friends. These negroes caressed the amazons, offered 
them food, and then received from them the little pupae, 
or grubs, of which they took charge, doubtless in order 
to bring them up as if they were their own offspring." 

" How funny ! how very funny ! " cried Philibert. 
" Of course, these negro-ants must have been caught and 
carried off when they were babies themselves, but had 
quite forgotten or forgiven the attack upon their old 

" I suppose that the amazons treat their slaves well," 
observed Sydney. " They've no flogging and over- 
working in an ant-hill." 

" The amazons and the negro-ants live in perfect har- 
mony together," said Know-a-bit. " Indeed, the ama- 
zons are quite dependent upon their servants, and would 
not know what to do without them ; for the warriors 
appear to be no more fit to work for themselves than 
are the soldier-ants of the termites. Not only does all 


the building work, and the nursing of the pupae, fall to 
the share of the negro-ants, but they even take the 
trouble of feeding the amazons. The busy little labourers 
appear as much masters as servants in the nest, and, it 
has been remarked, will even refuse the amazons ad- 
mission into their own home if they come back unsuc- 
cessful from one of their plundering excursions." 

"Do these amazons ever carry off grown-up negro- 
ants?" inquired Sydney. 

" Never are they seen to do so," answered the fairy. 
" The baby-ants only are taken ; and it is no hardship 
whatever to them to be brought up in the amazons' 

" Oh, how I wish that we had some of these curious 
ants in England!" exclaimed Philibert; "it would be 
such rare fun to watch them." 

" We have not the amazons here," observed Know-a- 
bit ; " but these very wood-ants on the hillock at your 
feet have been seen to eagerly carry off the pupae of 
other ants." * 

" I should like to catch them at it," cried Sydney. 
" I never thought that common wood-ants were such 
curious creatures." 

" What will you say when I tell you that some ants 
may almost be said to have their herds as well as their 
servants ?" said the fairy. " It is well known that ants 

• Gould : also White of Selborne. 


press from the aphides — a kind of insect very common 
upon our apple and oak trees — a sweet juice which 
nourishes them, as human beings are nourished by the 
milk of their cows. The ants do not hurt the aphides : 
they gently stroke them with their feelers (which are 
called antennae), and then drink the honey-dew with 
which those creatures are supplied.*' 

" Wonders upon wonders !" cried Sydney. 

" Ants are very fond of liquids," continued the fairy ; 
" and are provided with little tongues, with which they 
are able to lap." 

" I suppose," said Sydney, " that the ants do not 
keep herds ; they only catch a — what do you call it ? — 
when they can find one." 

" Nay," replied Know-a-bit ; " the clever Huber dis- 
covered that the common yellow-ant of our gardens keeps 
the eggs of the aphis,* and guards them as carefully as if 
they were her owa" 

'* Oh, doesn't that look as if the ant knew that the 
aphis would one day supply it with honey-dew ! " cried 

" Huber," continued the fairy, " found in the nest of 
the yellow-ant a number of little eggs; most of them 
were black as ebony, but some were of a clouded yellow. 
In vain the ants that Huber had disturbed tried to carry 

* Afhu In the singular, aphides in the pluraL So pupa and larva are singular, 
daacribing one only ; pupa and larva are plural, describing more than one. 



off these eggs : the human intruder seized upon both the 
ants and their treasure, and, in order to watch them 
more closely, put them all into a corner of a box faced 
with glass." 

" And what did the yellow-ants do in their prison V* 
asked Philibert Philimore. 

" They collected the eggs, and placed them in a heap, 

as. if they valued them 
highly. Part of the num- 
ber they put into some 
earth which was in the 
box ; others they stroked, 
seemed to lick, and fre- 
quently can-ied about in 
their mouths. The ants 
seemed to regard these eggs 
APiiiDEs, OR PLANT-LicBL ^i^h grcat affcctlon. They 

were not ant-eggs, which are white, but the eggs of 

*' And what are the aphides like when these little 
cows of the ants are full grown ?" inquired Sydney. 

" There are various kinds of aphides, as there are 
various kinds of ants," said Know-a-bit. " The common 
oak aphis you may see on this very leaf on which I am 
resting my wand." 

" What an ugly creature !" exclaimed Philibert, as the 
boys turned their eyes in the direction pointed out by 



the fairy, and beheld a very repulsive-looking brown 

" If the ants were to hold a cattle-show," observed 
Sydney gaily, " no one would think much of the beauty 
of their cows — unless they consider it a beauty to have 
such a long tail as this ugly aphis seems to have." 

" What you mistake for a tail is *a sucker/' observed 
Know-a-bit, "which is bent under the body of the 
insect, and therefore appears behind it. That sucker is 
much the same to the aphis that the trunk is to the ele- 
phant. Through this long proboscis it drinks up the 
juices of the leaf upon which it is resting ; which juices 
will undergo a wondrous change into the honey-dew 
with which it supplies the ants." 



5OW all the time during which Know-a-bit was 
holding this long conversation with the boys, 
there was a listener whose presence Philibert and 
Sydney never suspected; though Fairy Frisket 
had chosen for her seat the shoulder of the 
squire's young son, covered as it was with thick blue 
velvet almost as soft as moss. Frisket was quite as much 
amused as any of the party ; regarding, as she did, with 
great curiosity those remarkable creatures called boys, to 
whom this was her first introduction. Perhaps the fairy's 
feelings towards them were something like what their own 
might have been on their first sight of a huge elephant, 
which they had found more sagacious and good-tempered 
than they had expected such a monster to be. Frisket 
began to suspect that what her brother had said might be 
true — that she had indulged a foolish prejudice against 
liuman beings, and that her scorn of mankind had arisen 


from her want of knowledge. Whenever we are inclined 
to despise any being, we should try to discover whether 
the feeling may not arise from mingled ignorance and 

Fairy Frisket was amused not only by watching the 
boys, but by hearing what her brother was relating. Of 
course, she who had lived for hundreds of years in the 
forest, knew all about wood-ants, and aphides, and every 
other creature, save man, that lived near her fairy haunts; 
but of foreign creatures Frisket really knew nothing. 
How was it to be expected that she should, seeing that 
she had never looked into a book ? Of lions, tigers, and 
bears (except, of course, the insects — ant-lions, tiger- 
moths, and woolly-bears) she never had heard in her life. 
An elephant would have amazed her. The pretty little 
fairy, as she listened to her brother, began to imagine 
that pleasure might be found in learning, even by a fay, 
and that the hundreds of years spent amongst the books 
in the study by Know-a-bit might not have been lost 
time after all. 

Only once had Frisket been displeased during the 
course of the conversation to which she had listened ; 
and that was when saucy Philibert had joked about 
packing up her learned brother in a hat-box. The in- 
dignant little fairy had popped her sting-brush out of 
her bag, with the intention of giving the plump white 
ear, which lay so conveniently close to her hand, such a 


tap with it as would have sent the saucy boy roaring 
with paii> all the way back to the Hall. Sydney's ques- 
tion, by diverting Frisket's attention to amazon-ants, 
had saved his companion, for a time at least, from the 
danger of which he was so little aware ; but the fairy 
resolved that the saucy boy should not always escape so 
easily, but that she would tickle his ear, or spot his 
cheek, or stir his tea with the green end of her wand, if 
ever she should catch him again speaking disrespectfully 
of one of her race. 

" All the strange things which you have told us, Mr. 
Fairy," said Sydney, " make me want so much to learn 
more. How curious it would be to know what is pass- 
ing in that little ant-hill at this moment !" 

" Would you like to enter it and look about you ? *' 
asked Know-a-bit quickly, feeling in his pocket for his 
tiny pot of pomatum. 

" That's quite impossible," answered the boy, smiling 
as he glanced down on the little brown hillock which it 
would not have been difficult to have jumped over ; for 
English ants build very much more humble homes than 
the tennites of Africa. 

" It is not impossible for mind to go where body can- 
not enter, when fancy is powerful," said the learned fay. 
" If I but touch your temples with this curious pomatum, 
to-morrow morning, for an hour after sunrise, you and 
your companion there, if he wish it, shall inhabit the 


tiny bodies of ants, and explore wherever ants can go. 
I am speaking, of course, of your minds, and not of your 
large, heavy bodies." 

" And what is to become of our poor bodies while our 
minds are running about and amusing themselves thus ?" 
exclaimed the astonished Sydney ; while Philibert, who 
could scarcely yet even understand the strange offer of 
the fairy, stood staring at him with mouth and eyes wide 
open with amazement. 

" Your bodies will remain fast asleep on your beds, 
while your minds roam free, as they so often do in your 

" I won't be an ant," exclaimed Philibert suddenly. 
"If Mary the nurse should see me in such a shape 
running over my pillow, she'd squash me, as sure as a 

This exclamation, and the anxious, alarmed look on 
the face of the fat little boy, made Know-a-bit fall into 
such a violent fit of laughter that he shook the twig on 
which he was seated, and nearly knocked over the aphis. 
His laughter was echoed by Fairy Frisket ; though, of 
course, the boys could not hear the tinkling sound of her 
mirth, as she had never yet pulled the tassel which had 
been given to her by her brother. 

" Don't be frightened, my Mend," said Know-a-bit, as 
soon as his laughter was over. " You shall find yourself 
an ant in these woods, and close to this ant-hill, where no 


monster in the shape of a nurse will be near to 'squash* 


" But suppose we should never turn back again into 
boys !" suggested Sydney, shaking his head very gravely, 
as he looked down on the little rusty-brown creatures 
that were running about at his feet. 

" No fairy spell lasts beyond an hour," replied Know- 
a-bit. " At the end of sixty minutes you wiU find your- 
selves safe and sound in your beds. Shall I touch you 
with this?" continued the fairy, holding out towards 
Philibert the tiny pot of pomatum. 

" I don't believe that you can turn me into an ant, or 
into anything else, with that ridiculous little mustard- 
seed," exclaimed Philibert. 

Out popped Fairy Frisket's sting-brush ; but her 
brother, who saw the movement of her tiny hand, made 
a sign to her not to use it. 

" I have given you already pretty convincing proofs 
of my fairy power," said Know-a-bit. " I make you the 
offer but once more. Shall I enable you, by fancy, to 
enter an ant-hill in the shape of an ant ?" 

"Do it if you can 1" cried Philibert Philimore, with a 
little laugh of defiance. 

Almost before the words had quitted his lips, Know- 
a-bit, with a few quivers of his wings, had reached 
the squire's son, and touched his temples with fancy- 


"O Philibert, you're in for the adventure!" cried 

" Then you shall be in for it too ! " exclaimed Phili- 
bert, again looking frightened. "If I'm an ant, you 
shall be an ant. Oh, do ! pray do let your forehead be 
touched !" The poor little boy was alarmed at the idea 
of undergoing such a change all by himself; he thought 
that no adventure would be so terrible if but his com- 
panion would share in it. 

Sydney smiled, but hesitated. "I should like to 
consult my mother," he said ; " but she would think 
me quite out of my wits if I asked her leave to turn 
into a wood-ant." 

" And you can't ask her leave," cried Philibert ; " you 
know that you heard yesterday that she has been sud- 
denly called to Scotland to visit her sick brother. O 
Sydney, don't leave me in the lurch ! it would be so 
cowardly, it would be so unkind !" 

"I should not like to be unkind to any one, nor to 
desert you," said Sydney, " and yet this is such a very 
strange, very uncommon kind of affair." 

"Do you doubt me?" asked Know-a-bit, who had 
again taken his perch on the twig ; " have you, child of 
earth, ever found me, the child of air, lead you into 
danger or evil?" 

" No, indeed ! " replied Sydney frankly ; " I have had 
nothing but good from what you have taught me. Touch 



my forehead if you like, Mr. Fairy ; Philibert and I will 
visit the little ant-hillock together." 

Lightly flew Know-a-bit towards the boy, lightly he 
touched his temples with the fancy-pomatum. At this 
moment the voice of Mary was heard calling aloud 
through the wood, " Master Philibert ! Master Philibert ! 
where are you ? will you never come in for your break- 



^T was with mixed and very curious feelings that 
the two boys at Fairydell Hall thought over 
J^ the occurrences of the morning, and the very 
strange offer of Know-a-bit. The first thing 
which Philibert did on returning to the Hall 
was to wash his forehead well with soap and water, for 
lie had sad misgivings as to the power of the fancy- 
pomatum, though he had so saucily defied Know-a-bit to 
turn him into an ant. Notwithstanding this washing, 
Philibert did not fe^l easy in his mind ; and when, after 
breakfast, he and Sydney were together alone in the 
play-room, with a look of trouble on his plump round 
face, thus Philibert addressed his companion : — 

" I say, Sydney, do you really think that that horrid 

little conjuring fairy " (it was well that Frisket was not 

^)resent to hear) "will really turn us both into pismires?" 

** I think that it will be as if we had a dream of being 

(450) 5 



ants, and that in this odd kind of dream we shall enter 
the ant-hill.*' 


" But I don't care a straw for seeing the inside of that 
wretched little heap!" exclaimed Ehilibert ; "and if I 
ever went in, who knows whether I ever should come 
out again ! Think what fierce little things these ants 
are. Remember what the fairy told us of terrible 
soldiers, that would let themselves be pulled in pieces 
rather than let go an enemy whom they had caught hold 
of. Why, they might catch hold of me !" 

"You forget that these soldiers were termites, or 


white-ants/' said Sydney, " and that we have none such 
in England." 

" And those fighting amazons — '' 

"They too do not live in this country," observed 
young Pierce ; " it was in Switzerland, if you remember, 
that Huber watched the column on its march." 

" But I don't see why English ants should be better 
humom-ed than African, or Indian, or Swiss ants," said 
Philibert ; " they may bite as fiercely as any. Know-a- 
bit told us that those very wood-ants have been seen to 
carry off pupils — or puppies — or what did he call 

" Pupae," said Sydney, with a smile. 

"I know what 111 do," observed Philibert. "Mr. 
Gray is coming to see papa this forenoon (he's the clever 
fellow with the bald head, who knows so much about all 
kinds of creatures) ; I'll question him about ants ; I'll 
ask him whether English pismires are quiet, gentle, good- 
natured little beasts, that never think of fighting or 

There was no fear of Philibert Philimore's forgetting 
his intention, for the perils that might be encountered in 
an ant-hiU weighed a good deal on his mind. When at 
noon the boys entered the dining-room, where the rosy- 
cheeked jovial squire and his grave intelligent-looking 
guest were seated at table, with wine and fruit before 
them, Philibert scarcely waited to shake hands with 


Mr. Gray before blurting out, " I want you to tell me 
everything about ants." 

"Thirst for knowledge, thirst for knowledge," said 
the squire, as he pushed the decanter of port towards his 
guest, as if he thought that Mr. Gray might be thirsting 
for something besides. 

" The subject of ants is one on which we might talk 
all day long," observed the bald-headed gentleman; "there 
are so many species of the formica, or ant, and their 
manners and habits are so various. The termites — '* 

"Oh, I know all about them already!" interrupted 
Philibert ; " they make houses twenty feet high, and 
have a big king, and an enormous queen, and soldiers 
that fight like furies. I want to know if other kinds of 
ants are as savage." 

"A green kind in Australia," replied Mr. Gray, "is 
said to inflict a wound almost as painful as the sting of 
a bee. Another is called the fire-ant, from the burning 
sensation which it causes. Captain Stedman relates that 
a whole company of soldiers started and jumped about 
as if scalded with boiling water, from having got amongst 
ant-nests. A writer named Knox, in an account of 
Ceylon, mentions a black ant, which, he tells us, ' bites 
desperately — ^as bad as if a man were .burned by a 
coal of fire;' but he adds the consoling assurance that 
' they are of a noble nature, and will not begin unless 
you disturb them.'" 


The countenance of poor Philibert fell ; he felt more 
frightened^ than ever, and began to regard ants as 
creatures much of the nature of wolves, only, happily, 
not so large and so strong. Sydney, who had not lost 
his courage, quietly inquired : " But what we should like 
most to know, sir, is whether our own little English ants 
ever bite or sting ?" 

" Some small English ants," replied Mr. Gray, " such 
as the red and the turf ants, are undoubtedly possessed 
of a sting, but the genus in general is more given to 

Philibert uttered a little groan. 

"The ant is decidedly a pugnacious creature," con- 
tinued Mr. Gray. " I had in one comer of my garden 
three separate colonies of ants of different species : the 
yellow (Formica flava), the negi*o {Foi^mica fusca), and 
the red (Myrmica rubra) ; and it was not safe for a 
member of one of these colonies to cross over into the 
territory of either of its neighbours. Very savage battles 
sometimes take place between armies of diifferent ants." 

Poor Philibert groaned again, which made his father 
glance up at him in surprise. " Why, what's the matter 
with the boy ?" muttered he. Seeing, however, nothing 
to cause him any uneasiness in the fat face of his heir, 
the jovial squire observed aloud : " I've heard that if a 
kitchen be infested with beetles, a sure way to get rid 
of them is to introduce a colony of ants — only," he con- 


tinued gaily, " the remedy might be worse than the 

" Do you mean," inquired Sydney, ** that the ant is a 
match for the black beetle — a creature fifty times larger 
than itself?" 

" We must allow for numbers," observed Mr. Gray. 
" Ants, small as they are, seem to understand the axiom^ 
Union is strength. But a lady of my acquaintance 
actually saw a single ant kill a wasp,* that appeared to 
have been by some accident disabled, so as to be unable 
to fly." 

"An ant kill a wasp!" exclaimed Philibert, dai-ting 
an uneasy glance towards Sydney. 

'* Yes ; even English ants are remarkable creatures," 
observed Mr. Gray ; " but when we compare them to the 
termites — the white-ants of warmer latitudes — their 
feats appear as nothing. — When I was in India," he 
continued, addressing himself to the squire, " not liking 
the bare appearance which the walls of rooms there 
usually present, I hung up on mine half-a-dozen good 
engravings, in gilde«l frames, with glass to preserve the 
prints. One morning it seemed to me that the glass was 
uncommonly dull, and the frames seemed to be covered 
with dust I walked up to them, intending to give a 
good dusting to them, and a good scolding to my care- 
less native servants, when what was my surprise to find 

* A fact. 


each glass, not hanging in the frame as I had left it the 
night before, but actually fixed to the wall by a cement 
put round it by the white-ants! The insects had eaten 
up the wooden frames for their supper, had gobbled up 
the greater part of my beautiful pictures, (showing a taste 
for such works of art!) and as the glass was too hard for 
even their strong little jaws, they had left each upheld 
by the covered way of cement which they had formed 
after their usual fashion, in order to devour their meal in 

The boys looked astonished, and the squire observed, 
"Insects with such voracious appetites must be the 
plague of your lives in India." 

" Nothing seems to come amiss to white-ants," said 
Mr. Gray, smiling ; " they ve no objection to boots, shoes, 
papers, clothing. We have sometimes to put the feet of 
our chests of drawers into saucers full of water, to pre- 
vent the white-ants from eating up their contents." 

" I wonder what such mischievous insects were made 
for !" exclaimed Philibert Philimore. 

"My young friend,*' observed Mr. Gray gravely, 
" everything has its own proper place in creation ; and 
some of the insects which we most dislike are valuable 
workers for man. White-ants, like burying beetles, and 
other creatures that are no favourites of ours — such as 
jackals and vultures — perform very important sei-vices. 
They are the scavengers of nature ; they clear away 


refuse — dead animals and decaying matter — which, if 
left to corrupt on the ground, would taint the air and 
make it unwholesome." 

Sydney Pierce did not speak, but he remembered 
what his mother had often told him of the beautiful 
arrangements in the natural world, by which various 
races of creatures are made to conduce to the support 
and comfort of others ; nor had he forgotten Know-a-bit's 
account of the poor Africans fi*xiding their termites to be 
delicious food. 

"Tve heard," said the squire, "that in Tropical 
America there is a species of ants so useful in this way 
of clearing off rubbis'i, that when an army of them are 
seen on the march, the people throw open every box and 
drawer in their houses, that the ants may come in and 
make a clean sweep of all the centipedes, scorpions, and 
poisonous reptiles — to say nothing of cockroaches and 
beetles — that are apt to hide there in holes and crannies. 
Even rats and mice, lizards and snakes, are said to be 
hunted out and destroyed by these wonderful ants." 

"That kind of ants is called 'foraging,' and belongs 
to the genus Eciton," remarked Mr. Gray. "These 
foraging-ants sally forth in immense hosts : their columns 
are sometimes a hundred yards in length 1" 

" Oh, they beat the amazons out and out !" exclaimed 
Philibert. • 

" And it is a curious circumstance that these armies 


of foraging-ants seem to be eoiumauded by regular 
officers," continued Mr. Gray — *' about one officer to each 
twenty common men — I beg pardon ; I should say 
common ants." 

"And have the officers gold epaulets on to show 
their rank ? " asked Sydney playfully. 

" No ; they are distinguished by their large white 
heads, which go nodding up and down as they run along 
by the side of their men — I mean ants — to see that all 
are marching in proper order." 

" Well, of all wonderful creatures that ever I have 
heard of, I think that ants are the most wonderful ! " 
exclaimed Philibert. " They seem — these foraging-ants 
— to be like famous housemaids; aiid better than house- 
maids, if they clear the rooms even of snakes. But," he 
added, looking more grave, " I shouldn't like to watch 
the little fellows while they were busy at work, for fear 
lest — if they could not find cockroaches and lizards and 
snakes enough to please them — they should take a fancy 
to me." 

" I should certainly advise you to take the precaution 
of getting out of their way," said Mr. Gray, with a 
smile. " The natives, it is said, when the insect army 
draws near, run out of their dwellings, and leave them 
for awhile to the ants. They know that the foragers 
will make themselves very much at home, and help 
themselves without need of assistance to whatever they 

76 FORA OiyOA y TJ. 

can find. When tlie insects have finished their useful 
work, they march off, and the people return to their 
houses, finding them all the more comfortable and safe 
from the visit of the foraging-ants." 

" If a man should happen to come across one of the 
armies of ants, what would he do ?" inquired Sydney. 

" If he were a sensible fellow, he would take to his 
heels and be off," replied Mr. Gray. 

" I think that it is time that you and I should be off 
too," observed the squire, rising from table, "for we 
have a good long ride before us, you know. And we'll 
follow the fashion of these foraging-ants by clearing the 
table," he added, pulling towards him a dish of beautiful 
grapes, of which he and his guest had just been par- 
taking. " Sydney and Philibert, my lads, here's a 
bunch for each of you;" and, with a good-humoiu*ed nod 
to his son and young guest, by way of good-bye, the 
squire followed Mr. Gray to the old stone porch which 
led into the courtyard of Fairydell Hall, where two 
saddled horses were waiting for the gentlemen, in charge 
of a mounted groom. 



JHE squire was much too courteous to have 
pulled the ripe bunches out of the china dish 
as roughly as he did^ had he known that a 
lady was reclining in the midst of the fruit, 
resting so lightly upon it as not to rub the down from a 
single grape. We may wonder that, after all that Fairy 
Frisket had said to her brother of her dislike for man- 
kind, and her love for a free airy life in the woods, we 
should find her in a dish of grapes in the dining-room of 
Fairydell Hall But the curiosity of the little lady had 
been fairly aroused; having seen something of the human 
race, she was inclined to see a little more, especially as she 
had not foimd it to be as utterly bad as her fancy had 
pictured. Fairy Frisket began to think that a large old 
house might be quite as great a curiosity as a rook's or a 
jackdaw's nest, especially as some of the building materials 
must have been brought from a very great distance. 


Frisket had spent hours in the earlier pait of the day 
in flying about the hall, or loinning up the edge of the 
staircase banister with those tiny fairy feet that did not 
disturb a particle of dust upon the carved oak. The 
pictures which hung upon the walls had greatly puzzled 
the fairy ; she had had her doubts at first whether the 
portrait of Lord Bacon in his high-crowned hat and large 
ruffle were not really alive, — only she had never heard 
of any race of men who had heads without bodies ; and 
though the ruffle might be a kind of huge white wing, 
it seemed to her scarcely suited to fly with. Closer 
examination convinced the fairy that the picture had 
nothing in it of life. What pleased Frisket most was 
a window of stained glass which she found at the end 
of a corridor. It would have been the prettiest of 
sights — could any one have seen it — to have beheld 
the little fairy fluttering in the coloured rays that came 
streaming through the diamond-shaped panes, her gos- 
samer robe and transparent wings now catching tints 
of rich crimson, then of purple, and then of deep 

Bent upon exploring every comer of the curious old 
house, Frisket had actually found her way into the 
kitchen ; but the sight of a great joint of raw beef hang« 
ing up, and the scent of ham and of cheese, had soon 
sent the fairy flying away in disgust. She had lingered 
for a few minutes, however, chiefly attracted by the 


huge fire, — the first fire, be it remembered, that Frisket 
ever had seen. 

" Have these strange mortals," mused the fairy, 
" managed to imprison within those black bars the wild 
Will-o'-the-wisp which I have sometimes seen at night 
dancing over the moor ? even I never could catch it ! Or 
are these red flames that go roaring up that dark pass- 
age flashes of lightning kept in a cage ? " 

That single kitchen-fire gave Frisket a greater icjea of 
the power and skill of mankind than anything else in 
the large old dwelling; had she seen a lucifer match 
lighted, it would have struck her with amazement. 

** Is that big mortal with a face like a poppy feeding 
that shining thing with lumps like stones, but blacker 
than beetles? Is it alive, that it darts upward, and 
curls around them, and licks them with bright red 
tongues, and utters such a joyous crackle, as if it enjoyed 
its meal!" exclaimed Frisket, as she watched the cook 
at the very commonplace occupation of putting on coals. 
The little lady drew nearer to examine the fire more 
closely, till the heat of the flame began to scorch her 
transparent wings; and annoyed by this, and the savoury 
scents of the kitchen, the fairy took her flight from the 
place, to rest herself after her wanderings amongst the 
cool purple and green grapes that appeared upon the 
dining-room table. 

When the squire had disposed of the fruit, as we have 


seen, between the two boys, Fiisket returned to her 
former perch upon the soft velvet of Philibert's dress, 
resting her head against one of the yellow locks of the 
little boy's hair. Of course she curiously examined his 
linen collar, as it lay so close under her eyes, but she 
thought it as coarse as we might think a piece of rough 
matting, and said to herself that mortals were a very 
long way indeed behind the gossamer spiders. 

" I say, Sydney, you don't get such jolly gi-apes as 
these at your home," observed Philibert Philimore, as he 
plucked at his fine large bunch. 

" I seldom get grapes of any sort," replied Sydney ; 
'* and therefore, I suppose, I enjoy these all the more." 

The fruit was indeed no small treat to the delicate 
boy, whose natiu-ally feverish temperament made the 
cool juicy fruit especially refreshing. He only wished 
that his dear mother could have shared the rich purple 
bunch which he held in his hand. 

The boys sauntered out of the dining-room into the 
large old hall, panelled with oak, and hung with ancient 
armour, stuffed foxes' heads, and stags' horns. This 
hall was an especial delight to Sydney, whose fancy 
[)eopled it with the knights and ladies of old. As Phili- 
bert and his companion crossed it, they met Mary com- 
ing from the little postern entrance with an empty jar in 
her hand. 

" Little Simon Garland has just brought back the jar 


which the soup was sent in. Do you wish to see him, 
Master Philibert?" asked Mary. Though she addressed 
herself to her young charge, she glanced at Sydney as 
she spoke. 

** There's no use in our seeing him," said Philibert ; 
" he has been given money, physic, and soup ; I don't 
know what he can want more." 

" Perhaps he would like us to give him a kind word 
too, and ask after his sick father," observed Sydney 
■ Pierce. His mother had taught him that it is not only 
help but sympathy that the poor should have from those 
who are richer; and his own heart told him that a smile 
and kind word will often give more pleasure than a 

As Philibert had nothing more amusing to do, he 
went with his guest to the little low-arched door at 
which Simon Garland was waiting; the squire's son eat- 
ing his grapes as he went, and throwing down the skins 
on the polished oak floor — an untidy proceeding, which 
offended the invisible fairy. 

Frisket had, as we know, seen very little of human- 
kind. In the squire's comfortable home every one 
(except, perhaps, his young guest) appeared sleek and 
well fed ; the squire himself was jovial and stout ; Phili- 
bert's cheeks, though not rosy, were plump and round ; 
the looks of every one of the servants showed that they 
were not stinted in regard to mutton and beef Trisket 

(450) a 


haxl an idea that almost all mankind were heavy and 
fat, and great was her surprise when human poverty for 
the first time met her view. With wondering pity she 
looked upon little Simon, with his face so thin and so 
pale, his neatly-patched clothes, and the coarse shoes 
that had been worn so long as to be i)ast patching and 

" Alas ! poor child, he looks like a dry pea-pod !*' said 
the fairy to herself ; " I hope that there are not many of 
the human race like him !" 

Could Frisket have glanced into many of the wretched 
abodes of the poor, she would have seen sights of sorrow 
that might have saddened even the blithe little fairy. 

" How is your father, Simon ? " asked Sydney kindly, 
while Philibert stood by eating up his grapes as fast as 
he could. 

" Father's the better for the soup, thank' ee, master," 
replied Simon, a grateful smile lighting up his thin little 
face. " But he han't got rid of the fever yet — he lies 
a long time awake o* nights, — the cough tries him so, 
and hinders his sleeping." 

" And makes his mouth feel hot and dry, I daresay," 
said Sydney, who knew too well what it is thus to 

" Mother aFays puts a cup of water by father's bed- 
side at night, just to cool his lips. Taking a drop now 
and then, he drinks it all up afore morning." 



Frisket noticed that Sydney glanced down at the bunch 
of grapes which he held, then again at the boy, then once 
more at the sweet juicy fruit. She guessed the thought 
which was passing through the mind of Sydney, and 
watched with keen interest the first struggle against self 
which she had ever yet had an opportunity of seeing. 


" I say, Sydney, there's our dinner-bell," observed 
Philibert, turning on his heel. 

"The little glutton!" exclaimed the fairy ; ''he has 
eaten half a cluster of grapes already, and now he is 
eager for that heavy animal food !" 



The moment that Philibert's back was turned, Sydney 
held out his own tempting bunch of grapes to the sick 
man's son. "This will refresh your poor father more 
than the water," he said ; and hunying away without 
waiting for thanks, he joined his little companion. 

V .. 



CLL done, Sydney Pierce, well done!" ex- 
claimed the invisible fairy. "I shall stir 
your food with the golden end of my 
wand ; you shall enjoy your dinner to- 
day ; it shall be the sweetest that you 
ever ate in your life ! I could almost wish that I my- 
self were a child instead of a fairy, that I too might 
have a battle to fight and a victory over self to win — 
that I too might give up something to make a poor 
sufferer happy. This must be a nobler kind of pleasure 
than any that fairyland can afford 1 " 

Philibert usually took his meals in his play-room, 
where he was waited upon by Mary. To the play- 
room, therefore, the two boys went at the summons of 
the bell, accompanied by the imseen fairy still perched 
upon Philibert's shoulder. A very savoury scent pro- 
ceeded from the dish at the top of the table, which was 


spread with a milk-white cloth, on which appeared 
plates, knives, forks, and spoons laid for two. The 
savoury scent was not agreeable to Fairy Frisket ; it 
reminded her of the kitchen, and the great joint of raw 
meat which she had seen hanging up there. But if the 
odour annoyed the fair lady, it had a very different 
eflFect upon the two boys. 

'* I say, there's something good in that dish ; I can 
tell by the smell!'' crieu Philibert. "Whip off the 
cover, Mary ; we're both as hungry as hounds !" 

Sydney was the more hungry of the two, as he had 
not damped his appetite by eating half a pound of ripe 
grapes. Very tempting to him was the appearance of 
the nicely-browned cutlets, with the rich thick sauce 
around them, which met his view when Mary had lifted 
the cover from the dish. 

"I say, this is good!" exclaimed Philibert, grasping 
his knife and fork, and holding them upright, while his 
fat little fists rested on the table. " Cook hasn't given 
us veal cutlets before for ever so long !" 

*' Veal — is that veal ? " asked Sydney, in a tone that 
betrayed a little disappointment. 

" Yes ; jolly nice it is. Don't you like it ? " said 

" I daresay that I should like it very much," replied 
Sydney ; " but the doctor forbade my ever eating veal." 

" Oh ! the doctor's a donkey 1" cried Philibert ; " and 


y^ou're not under his thumb at Fairydell Hall. Just 
eat away like a man ; it won't do you a bit of harm." 

Sydney hesitated for a moment, and then said with a 
little effort, " My mother would not wish me to take it" 
A pink tinge rose upon the boy's cheek as he spoke. 

'* But your mother is not here, any more than the 
doctor, and I won t tell of you !" cried Philibert, laugh- 
ing, as he plunged his fork into the nearest brown 

" I'll do just the same as if she were here ; she trusts 
me," said Sydney. And again Frisket exclaimed, '* Well 
done !" at this second little victory over self. 

*' But you don't mean to go without your dinner, I 
suppose," said Philibert ; and he put a large piece of the 
cutlet into his own mouth. 

" Perhaps I can have something else ; only I am 
sorry to give trouble," replied Sydney, looking at Mary, 
who was bringing in a dish of green pease. 

"Oh! he'll fare like a fairy for once!" exclaimed 
Frisket, who was pleased at the idea of her favourite 
boy giving up what she considered the shocking habit 
of feeding upon meat. But the next words of Sydney 
undeceived her. 

"Perhaps there is a little cold meat in the house." 

" Certainly, Master Pierce ; there's sure to be a bit 
left from the cold shoulder of mutton. I'll fetch it 
directly," said Mary, and she quitted the room. She 


was ever willing to serve " Master Sydney, who is such 
a thorough little gentleman, always civil and kind to 
every one," as the maid observed to the cook when she 
asked her for the mutton. 

" Well, Sydney, you are a poor creature, if you dare 
not so much as venture on a bit of nice veaJ for fear of 
making yourself sick !" cried Philibert, munching as he 
spoke. The colour on Sydney's cheek rose higher than 
before ; he looked as if he were about to make some 
sharp retort to the boy who could despise him merely 
for being less hearty and strong than himself, but he 
pressed his lips tightly together, and uttered nothing in 
reply. Again the fairy marked a silent victory over 

But Frisket felt no need for the same self-command 
in a fairy ; indeed, she had taken the idea into her tiny 
head, that, having once come amongst young mortals, 
she might do great things in the way of bringing them 
into good order. Twice she had refrained from touch- 
ing up Master Philibert with her woe brush made of 
wasp stings, but now she gave him a brisk tap on the 
lobe of his fat little ear. 

" Wa-a-a!" yelled the boy, starting up from his seat, 
and clapping his hand over the place. 

"What's the matter?" asked Sydney in surprise, unable 
to help thinking that Philibert was indeed "a poor 
creature," for giving such a roar like a baby. 


" Something has stung me ; some horrid ugly beast I — 
wa-al" howled Philibert. Ah, if he could but have 
seen the face of Frisket when he gave such a description 
of a faiiy 1 

Sydney good-naturedly jumped down and ran to the 
rescue, to find out the offending creature. That Phili- 
bert had been hurt was plain enough, for the big tears 
were running down his plump cheeks. 

" I can't see a wasp anywhere, nor any other insect," 
said Sydney, after a search. 

"I daresay it's one of those dreadful foraging-ants, 
or amazons, or termites, or something !" cried Philibert, 
quite forgetting in his pain that none of these insects 
are natives of England. " I daresay it has hid itself in 
my clothes." He jumped up and violently shook his 
blue dress. " Perhaps it is running down my back ! 
O Sydney! O Mary!" — the maid had just returned with 
the meat — " do look for the horrid thing that has stung 
me right on the ear ! " 

Sydney looked and Mary looked amongst the boy's 
clothes, under the collar, under the sleeves, about the 
table, below the table ; but of course they looked in 
vain. Frisket did not choose to pull her tassel, and 
they might have searched to the end of their lives be- 
fore they discovered the fairy. 

If Frisket had hoped to mend the manners or improve 
the temper of Philibert Philimore by that rap on his ear. 


she was to be disappointed. The boy returned to his 
veal cutlets in a mood like that of a wounded bear ; 
while Sydney ate his cold mutton with a serene con- 
science, and the sauce of a good appetite. Young Pierce 
would have preferred the daintier dish, but he was 
happy in the consciousness that he was obeying his 
mother, and much enjoyed his simple food. 

" I cannot bear to touch flesh with my fairy wand," 
murmured Frisket, " for veal and mutton are food which 
no fairy could ever abide; but if anything eatable appear 
on the table, I'll make the boy who gave away all his 
grapes taste something sweeter than anything which 
has ever yet passed the lips of a mortal." 

The meat course was succeeded by a green-gage tart, 
a help from which was placed by Mary before each of 
the boys. Little guessed they who stood on the edge of 
Philibert's china plate, taking care not to dip her delicate 
little feet into the juice of the fruit, as she stirred it with 
the green end of ier wand. Frisket then flew off* like a 
butterfly, and, without alighting, plunged the golden tip 
for a second into the midst of Sydney's supply. 

" What a horrid taste this tart has !" exclaimed Phili- 
bert, turning up his nose with a look of disgust when 
he had taken the first spoonful of the fruit tart before 

" Why, Master Philibert, you always like green-gage 
tart better than anything else," said Mary. 



" I don't like this, it tastes like soap — ^ugh !" exclaimed 
Philibert, pushing back his plate. 

" Do you find anything wrong in the tart, Master 
Sydney?" asked Mary. 

Sydney had just been thinking that he had never 
before in his life tasted anything half so nice. All the 


sweetness of a bunch of rich grapes seemed to be gathered 
into every green-gage. He only smiled, however, and 
replied, " I cannot say that I find anything wrong." 

Thus encouraged, Philibert tried another spoonful, but 
he could scarcely manage to swallow it. "Taste it 


yourself!" he cried fiercely to Mary, pointing to the 
remains of the tart in the dish. 

Mary tasted and thought it excellent: it had not been 
stirred by the fairy. 

"I'll tell you what, Master Philibert," said Mary: 
"you've been making yourself sick by eating such a 
quantity of rich veal cutlet. I believe Master Sydney's 
mamma is quite right — veal is not wholesome for children.. 
You do not like that nice tart because you're not in a 
humour to like anything." 

"I don't like soap!" exclaimed Philibert fiiriously, 
flinging himself backwards on his chair, and kicking 
upwards at the table, which action set the glasses jingling 
and the fairy laughing, while neither Sydney nor Mary 
found it easy to keep from smiling. Perhaps there was 
some truth in the guess of the maid ; at least some of 
my readers may have found themselves inclined to find 
fault with viands which hungry little children would 
enjoy, from having played the glutton like Philibert 
Philimore. Oreedineas often has the same effect as the 
green end of the fairy's wand. 

" I wonder how you can behave so like a big baby. 
Master Philibert," said Mary to her spoiled young charge; 
" I'm really ashamed that Master Sydney should see you 
in your tantrums. You first roar and cry out that you 
are stung, when there's nothing near that could hurt 
you; and then complain of the nicest food, instead of 


being thankful that you have dainties when others can 
scarcely get bread. I'm sure that, with all your play- 
things and pleasures, you ought to be the happiest boy 
in the world.*' 

" Tm not happy at all 1" growled Philibert ; the fairy's 
green-tipped wand was at that moment touching his eye- 
lid. " I'm tired of all my playthings, they are so ugly 
and stupid ; and I don't see what pleasures I have. I 
don't like this great dull old Hall; it's the most gloomy 
place in the world ! " 

Sydney uttered an exclamation of astonishment. 
" Oh 1 it seems to me to be so grand, so beautiful ; every- 
thing that I see here I admire so much ; I can hardly 
fancy any place more delightful than Fairydell Hall !" 

Of course Frisket's wand had touched his eyelid, but 
it was the golden-tipped end. Ah! little reader, whether 
you dwell in a cottage or a palace, a shop in a street or 
a castle amid woods, how do you view the objects around 
you? Are you pleased with and thankful for your 
blessings, or inclined to find fault with everything around 
you ? Contentment is the golden end of the wand, and 
discontent is the green one. Wonderfiil is the difference 
made in every object by the touch of the one or the 
other ! 



f^P you believe, Sydney, that anything will really 
come of Know-a-bit's touching us \^th that 
curious fancy-pomatum, as he calls it?" was 
Philibeii/'s anxious whisper, when, on the 
evening of that day, the two boys were pre- 
jiaring for bed. 

"The fairy has always kept his promises/' replied 
Sydney, " so it seems as if we ought not to doubt him ; 
though it is difficult to imagine being turned into an 

"The pot of pomatum was so very, very small," 
observed Philibei't. 

"Ah! but perhaps a very little 'fiincy' may go a 
long way," said Sydney. 

Philibert was very restless and uneasy, and could not 
get to sleep for some time, perhaps owing to a feeling of 
fear and wonder, — perhaps from his having eaten too 


plentifully of veal cutlet. Sydney slept long and serenely, 
but awoke at last with a sensation of the greatest amaze- 
ment. The fresh, cool air of early mom was around 
him, the forest boughs waved above him ; the morning 
star was growing pale in the clear blue sky, and in the 
east a bar of red gold showed where the sun was about 
to rise. What astonished Sydney, — for no expectation 
beforehand could prepare him for a sensation so exceed- 
ingly funny, — was to find himself quite close to the earth, 
and so small that he could have run up a blade of grass, 
or have hidden himself under a daisy ! 

" Oh 1" exclaimed Sydney in amazement, " what would 
my mother say, if she knew that her boy was running 
about upon six little legs, no bigger than pin-points !" 

If I am asked how Sydney in his new shape managed 
to utter such an exclamation, I must own that it puzzles 
me to give an explanation It is true that he had a jaw 
and a tongue, but whether he was able to produce with 
them any sound which could be heard even by an ant, 
the most learned naturalist scarcely could undertake to 
decide. That ants have some kind of language under- 
stood by their companions — at least, that they are able 
in some way to ask for food or for help, or to give 
tidings where a prize may be found, — seems clear to 
those who have watched them closely. Some believe 
that this language is expressed by the motion of their 
feelers or antennse ; that it is something like the method 


by which deaf and dumb people speak on theu' fingem ; 
while others suppose that these same quivering antennae 
are actually to ants what ears are to us, and convey to 
them sounds too faint to reach man's less delicate sense. 
As Fairy Know-a-bit is never likely, dear reader, to turn 
either you or me into emmets, we shall probably never 
know exactly the nature of this ant language. Had we 
been ever so close to Sydney when he uttered his ex- 
clamation of wonder, we should certainly not have heard 
it ; and we should have seen in him nothing but a very 
commonplace rus^^y-coloured pismire, such as may be 
found running about in hundreds of woods in England. 

" O dear ! Sydney Pierce, is that you ? " cried an ant 
close beside him. '* Isn't it horrid to feel so dreadfully 
small ! I'm so glad that you are in the scrape as well as 

" We had better make the most of our time while we 
are so small," observed Sydney the ant. *' There's our 
hill : I'd no notion that it was so big ; why, it looks to 
me now as large as one of the Pyramids of Egypt.* How 
our little companions here ever managed to raise it so 
high, puzzles my brain." 

"I don't fancy going in!" cried Philibert He was 
not possessed of a very stout heart either as a boy or a 
pismire. " I don't like at all being jostled in a crowd, 
and I'm sure that of all bustling busy places in the 
world an ant-hill must be about the worst." 


" Aie you in want of a guide, gentle strangers ? " said 
a pismire approaching the visitors, and laying her little 
quivering antennae on Sydney in a manner which he felt 
to be the perfection of ant-politeness. " I see that you 
do not belong to this community, and it might be agree- 
able to you if I were to conduct you through a few of 
the chambers and galleries in the city before us." 

Sydney was astonished at a pismire having such an 
elegant manner and address ; he little knew that it was 
Fairy Frisket herself who had chosen to animate the 
form of an ant, bent upon having a little frolic with her 
human companions in this their strange new position. 

" We should be very much obliged to you indeed, Mrs. 
Ant, if you would kindly show us the way, and intro- 
duce us to the gentlemen and ladies inside the city," 
replied Sydney; *'or they may think that we have no 
business to go wandering about in the place." 

"Why, where are the little holes which we saw 
yesterday, with the ants running in and out of them ?" 
cried Philibert Philimore. 

" I've heard," observed Frisket, " that human beings 
put up shutters on their windows, and close their doors, 
at night ; and much in the same way these wood-ants 
stop up their passages when darkness comes on, that 
they may labour or rest in peace and quiet in their 
homes. They are not like the brown ants, that love to 
go abroad in the night, and who used to be supposed to 

(450) 7 


be especially fond of moonshine. But see ! — as it is 
dawn, the good people of the city are pulling down their 
shutters and opening their doors, which shows that they 
expect the day to be fine." 

" Would they keep their passages shut up then/* 
asked Sydney, " if they expected the day to be wet ?" 

"They keep their passages well closed in rainy 
weather," observed Fairy Frisket; "ants have a great 
dislike to the rain." 

" I should not think that such a heap of twigs, straw, 
old grass, little bits of wood, and dried leaves could keep 
out the slightest shower," observed Sydney. 

" You show that you are not an experienced pismire," 
said Frisket gaily. " You may notice that the whole 
hill before us is skilfully rounded in shape, so as to carry 
off water, and so constructed that even violent rains 
can soak in but a very little way. But there is an 
opening from which two active ladies have just succeeded 
in dragging several fragments of wood : will you please 
to walk in, young gentlemen ; there is no need to knock 
here before you enter." 

In trotted Fairy Frisket on her six little legs, closely 
followed by Sydney ; but Philibert hung back, — he was 
afraid to enter what he considered to be a little black 

Sydney was astonished at the length of the passages 
which he now traversed in company with the unknown 



fairy. His eyes being of course ants eyes, he had no diffi- 
culty in moving about in what to human beings must have 
seemed to be utter darkness. He passed a great many 
wood-ants, who were exceedingly busy at their various 
occupations, — too busy, indeed, to pay any attention to 
him. Each was working 
by herself, without inter- 
fering with her neigh- 
bours, or appearing to 
need any direction or aid. 
Sydney soon discovered 
that what he had called 
an ant-hill was a great 
building (great compared 
to the size of the builders), 
with story raised upon 
story, long galleries, and 
ranges of rooms. 

" What are those ants 
about that I see running 
down from the upper 
stories, canying little white 
burdens ? " asked Sydney, 
stepping backwards to let them pass, for they seemed 
in such haste, that had he stood in their way they 
might have run over his little body. 

" They are the nurses, looking after the comfoi-t of 



the pupae — the baby-ants/' replied Frisket " The 
weather promises to be so hot, that the upper stories 
will be too warm for the dear 
little pets ; their nurses know 
that they will be cooler on the 
^SE- ground-floor, or down in the eel- 

LARYA. or ANT. larS " 

" What careful little nurses ! " exclaimed Sydney. 
" And when the weather grows cold, will they carry the 
children upstairs ? " 

" Up they go in damp, chilly weather, nurses and 
pupae together. They know well enough that then it 
is not healthful to live on the ground, or under the 
ground. But you have as yet seen but a small part of 
the city : come this way, Mr. Ant, and take a peep at 
the tunnels and the galleries hollowed out yonder." 

" These are what we should call vaults," observed 
Sydney, as they took a downward direction through 
passages formed in the earth itself with wonderful skill, 
— low themselves, but leading to a large middle chamber 
which was crowded with ants. " I know that Squire 
Philimore has beer-cellars, wine-cellars, and coal-cellars 
beneath his fine house ; but human beings seldom care 
themselves to live in such dark low places. These ants 
seem to enjoy burying themselves alive." 

" Alive you may well say," answered the fairy ; " for 
they are lively enough, and busy enough, and don't care 



for plenty of light and air, as human beings are said to 
do. But these wood-ants go to sleep in the winter, 
huddled up in their little cells, and not requiring to eat 
or drink until the warm sunshine in spring calls them 
up to labour and pleasure again. 



'E will now return to Philibert Philimore, who 
t had remained on the outside of the ant-hiU, 
feeling, it must be confessed, very nervous 
and uneasy in his strange new position. 
The ants soon began to swarm in numbers 
out of their city, and Philibert had to move from his 
place again and again to prevent his being jostled out of 
it by his active little neighbours. He was aware of a 
very strong and peculiar scent from the ant-hill, which 
reminded him that Know-a-bit had once informed him 
that vinegar can be made from ants. 

" These rusty-coloured little fellows must be different 
indeed from those African white-ants," thought Phili- 
bert. " I'm sure that if these were dished up, no one 
would ever think them like sugared cream or sweet 
almond paste ! " 

" Get out of my way, you snail — ^you slug ! What 


are you standing and staring and doing nothing for ? " 
cried an angry pismire, as he pushed past Philibert 

" There's more of the vinegar than of the sugar in his 
temper at least/' thought the poor little boy in the 
shape of an ant 

" Come you here, lazy-legs, and help me ! '* said 
another pismire, who was trying in vain to pull along a 
bit of dried grass at least four times as long as herself. 

Philibert stood stock-still He did not choose to 
work ; and very hurting to his pride it was to be bullied 
by an ant. 

" We don't keep idlers here," cried the impatient 
pismire. " If you don't work, we'll bite off your head!" 

The hint was enough. Philibert rushed at the dry 
bit of grass, and pulled and tugged at it for his life. He 
had never laboured so hard before. 

" Where are we to take it ? " asked Philibert, when 
stopping for a moment to take breath. 

" Into the hill, of course ; there's one of the walls 
that needs repairing. Pull the grass right into that 
doorway," said the ant. 

Philibert had been afraid to venture into the ant-hill 
in company with Sydney Pierce ; and now to go into a 
dark place where he would probably lose his way, and 
that with a pismire who had thoughts of biting off his 
head, was so exceedingly unpleasant, that the poor little 


fellow could not make up his mind to do it. Philibert's 
end of the burden was nearer the hole than that held by 
his new companion, but, by a sudden movement, he 
managed to change its position. 

" What are you about, you stupid ? " cried the pismire. 
" We don't want to lay it across the door, but to carry 
it in." 

*' I want you to take your end in first," replied Phili- 
bert, secretly resolving that he would not enter at alL 

" You're an awkward pismire, if there ever was one!" 
cried the little labourer, turning his end of the burden, 
however, so as to drag it first into the hole. 

No sooner had the wood-ant disappeared under the 
dark little doorway, than Philibert dropped the bit of 
dry grass, and took to his, — I must not say heels, — but 
his six little legs, and ran oflT at a tremendous pace, con- 
sidering the smallness of their size. Nothing could stop 
him in his course, not even limips of clod almost as big 
as peas. A hairy caterpillar lay in his way — Philibert 
was over her in a moment ! The boy ant was running 
for his life, for he was dreadfully afraid that one of his 
new companions would bite off his little black head. 

" More haste, worse speed," says the proverb; and poor 
Philibert Philimore was to prove the truth of the saying. 
Little thought he, as he scampered away from the hill, 
of hidden pitfalls, or of secret foes who lie in ambush for 
ants ! Running over a sandy spot, down tumbled poor 


Philibert into the trap which had been carefully prepared 
to catch such prey by the insect called an ant-lion« 
What was his horror to find himself suddenly plunging 
down the sandy pitfall, almost rolling into the powerful 
jaws of the dreadful creature lying in wait at the bottom! 


This creature was somewhat of the shape of a fat 
garden-spider, but with long slender mandibles to catch 
at its prey. Philibert certainly did not stop to examine 
its appearance closely, for, having tumbled into the pit, 
all his efforts were now directed to scrambling out of it 
again. The ant-lion was no more inclined to let a 
dinner escape than Philibert himself might have been. 
It was, indeed, quite unable to run after Philibert, for 
the ant-lion, though possessed of six legs, can only use 
two of them for walking, and that but to drag itself 
slowly backwards, so that it is clear that nature never 


intended this creature to overtake its prey in the chase. 
But in the sand of the pit which it has digged, the ant- 
lion possesses a terrible weapon ; for if the insect cannot 
run, it can jerk and fling, as Philibert soon found to his 
cost. As the poor boy ant struggled up the steep sides 
of the pit, even the movement of his little legs brought 
loose sand tumbling about him ; while the ant-lion from 
behind sent a dreadful shower of it after him — sand- 
grains being to an ant much what sharp stones would 
be to a boy. Philibert stiniggled, scrambled, sUpped 
backwards, then by dint of frantic efforts got a little 
way up the side of the pit, when a blow from a sand- 
grain knocked him down again, almost into the jaws of 
the hungry ant-lion ! Happily at that moment the hour 
during which the fairy spell lasted expired, and Phili- 
bert awoke with a scream, leaving the body of the 
pismire to serve as the ant-lion's dinner ! 



'HY, what on earth is the matter, Master 
Sydney ? " exclaimed Mary, running into the 
room of her charge in alarm at the sound of 
his scream. Philibert, half raised on his 
elbow in his bed, was staring around him, and 
rubbing his eyes, looking bewildered and frightened. " Did 
anything hurt you, to make you scream like a baby ? '' 

*' You would have screamed too, if a horrid spider had 
been going to gobble you up ! '* cried Philibert fiercely. 

Mary burst out laughing. '' Where is this spider ? '* 
said she. "I should not have thought that a brave 
young gentleman would have been frightened out of his 
wits by a poor little insect.'' 

" Little, do you call it ! " cried Philibert ; '* it was 
bigger than myself — and so fat 1 " 

Mary laughed more merrily than before. " You must 
have had a fimny dream,'* said she. 



" I*ve not been dreaming at all, — you know nothing 
about the matter," cried Philibert, who was highly 
offended, and not a little ashamed. He was sufficiently 
wide-awake now to remember that he would get into a 
great scrape with Know-a-bit if he mentioned to any 
one (except, of course, to Sydney, who was himself in 


the secret) anything about his intercourse with the fairy. 
Philibert could say nothing about fancy-pomatum to 
Mary, nor tell her the extraordinary adventure which he 
had had in the shape of a wood-ant. Not being able to 
^ve any explanation of his conduct, Philibert felt ex- 


ceedingly vexed at having been heard to utter a scream, 
and then woi-ds which must, he knew, have sounded ab- 
solute nonsense. He almost danced about the room with 
passion when, while she was helping the little boy to 
dress himself, Mary remarked, with a provoking smile, — 

" I shall take very good care, little master, that cook 
never sends up veal cutlets again for your dinner." 

Very sulky and ill-tempered was Philibert during all 
the time that he was washing and dressing ; the soap 
flew one way, the sponge another ; and the boy would 
scarcely stand still for a moment to have the parting 
made down the middle of his curly head of hair. Mary 
set down all this temper, of course, as the eflect of eat- 
ing veal cutlets. As savage as a bear the squire's son 
met his companion Sydney in the play-room before 
breakfast; while Mary went for the cups and saucers, the 
fresh milk, butter, and eggs. 

The face of Sydney was bright with good-humour ; 
Fairy Frisket, who was hovering near, had again touched 
his eyelids with the golden tip of her wand. 

"O Philibert," began the smiling Sydney, "what a 
curious, amusing hour we two spent with the ants 1 " 

" Curious, amusing, indeed 1 " exclaimed Philibert with 
anger ; " I don't know what ycm may think it, but / 
think it anything but amusing to crawl about upon six 
legs, and then to be nearly devoured by a spider ! How 
dared you leave me in the lurch ? " 


" I leave you ! What do you mean ? " asked Sydney. 
" I only went into the ant-hill ; and I thought, of course, 
that you were coming in too. Why did you not follow 
that most polite little ant ? " 

Philibert did not choose to reply, " Because I was too 
much frightened to venture," although that would cer- 
tainly have been the most honest answer to have given. 
" I did not choose," he muttered, " to go into that horrid, 
dirty hole." 

" I assure you that the place was neither dirty nor 
horrid, but extremely curious and interesting," said 
Sydney. " But do tell me of your adventures, Phili- 
bert ; I can't imagine how you managed to get into the 
web of a spider." 

" I never said that I got into a web," replied the 
squire's son, as tartly as if he had been accused of getting 
into a jail ; " I tumbled down a horrid, crumbling pit- 
fall, at the bottom of which lay a fat gray spider, with 
dreadful long feelers, which jerked up such a lot of sand 
after me, that as fast as I clambered up I tumbled back 
again, almost into its gaping jaws." 

" Oh, it must have been an ant-lion, not a spider," 
exclaimed Sydney with animation. "My mother has 
told me all about it ; and she said that though called a 
British insect, it is seldom if ever found in this country; 
but it is common enough in France. There is no crea- 
ture that I have ever wished more to see." 


" I wish that you had had to do with it instead of 
me ; I am sure that I saw much more of it than I 
liked/* growled Philibert Philimore. 

" The ant-lion has a strong flat head," said Sydney, 
recalling what he had been taught ; " with one of its 
legs it will manage to place . upon this head a load of 
sand, which it chucks upwards with wonderful strength, 
tossing as if it were a little bull. That curious insect 
will carry up out of its pit even a stone two or three 
times the weight of its body. Fancy what a head it 
must have ! '* 

Philibert gave a little grunt, as if he took no great 
pleasure in hearing of the ant-lion*s strength or skill, and 
muttered, " It's the ugliest beast that ever I saw in my 

"But its beauty-time is to come," observed Sydney. 
" Mother says that the ant-lion makes for itself a case or 
coffin of sand, fastened together by threads of its silk ; 
puts a silken web over the whole, and then goes to sleep 
as the chrysalis of a caterpillar does, turns into a pupa, 
and bursts out at last with four beautiful gauzy wings, 
and looks very much Jike that lovely creature the 

" I don't care to hear anything more about it ; it's all 
stupid nonsense to say that that horrid little monster of 
a spider can ever turn into a creature with wings ! " ex- 
claimed Philibert. The ill-tempered boy added many 


other foolish words to a speech which showed great 
ignorance — now abusing the ant-lion ; now his innocent 
companion for leaving him to the spider, as he persisted 
in calling the insect; and now Know-a-bit, the fairy, 
for having dared to rub upon him that horrid fancy- 

I have mentioned that Fairy Frisket was present in 
the room, of course listening to all that was said ; and 
very indignant was the little lady at the conduct of the 
squire's spoiled boy. Frisket had taken into her tiny head 
the idea that she could, by means of fairy punishments, 
bring Philibert Philimore into much better order, reform 
his temper, and mend his manners. Certainly the boy had 
seemed none the better for the rap from the fairy's sting- 
brush, nor for the spoiling of his green-gage tart ; but 
Frisket, who had had no experience in teaching, and who 
was as positive in her own opinion as ignorant people 
often are, was resolved to keep to her punishment plan. 
Perching upon Philibert's shoulder once more, at every 
silly passionate word which he uttered the fairy tapped 
his cheek or nose with the green end of her wand, leav- 
ing wherever she tapped a tiny black spot behind. 

Sydney Pierce did not notice any change in his young 
companion, because he was not looking at Philibert. As 
the squire's son was so much out of temper, Sydney 
thought it better to leave his passion to cool ; and trying 
to pay as little attention as possible to Philibert's bad 


language, young Pierce was examining the pretty pic- 
tures which ornamented the walls. But when Mary re- 
entered the play-room with the breakfast on a tray, she 
had hardly set it down on the table before she exr 
claimed in amazement, *' Why, Master Philibert, what is 
the matter with your cheek ? " 

Her exclamation made Sydney turn round and look. 
" It's all sprinkled with black speckles ! " he cried. 

Philibert pulled out his little silk handkerchief, and 
gave the fat cheek such a vigorous scrubbing that he 
made it as red as fire. But this had only the effect of 
making the speckles appear on a scarlet ground instead 
of rather a sallow one, 

" Dear ! dear ! dear ! " exclaimed Mary, each " dear " 
being uttered in a tone of louder alarm ; " it's a black 
rash coming out on your face ! That's not measles, nor 
chickenpox, nor smallpox ! — oh ! if my father, the 
chemist, were but here I I never heard of black spots — 
except — except in the plague ! " 

Philibert stared at Mary with his eyes and mouth 
wide open, then rushed in terror to a little mirror over 
the mantelpiece and commenced rubbing his face again 
with more energy than before. 

" You had none of these spots when we met finst in 
the morning," said Sydney, who little guessed that the 
ugly marks had been left by foolish and naughty words. 
Ah, little reader, if Fairy Frisket with her green-tippe^ 


wand were perched on your shoulder, would that merry 
face of yours never be dotted with ugly black spots for 
naughty talking ? 

" I must speak to the squire directly about this," said 
Mary, as she hastened out of the room, feeling seriously 
alarmed. She met the jovial master of Fairydell Hall at 
the door of his study. 

" Please, sir, may I speak to you about Master Phili- 
bert ? " said Mary, in a tone so anxious that it awoke a 
little alarm in the father. 

" Nothing wrong with the child, I hope ? " cried the 

"I don't know, sir, indeed," replied Mary, "but 
Master Philibert is so odd. He has been exceedingly fmc- 
tious, has Master Philibert, both yesterday and to-day." 

" He wants a little more of the rod, and a little less 
bread and butter," observed the squire, with a good- 
humoured smile. 

" He awoke this morning with such a scream, sir, and 
cried that he was going to be eaten up by a spider bigger 
than himself." 

" Dreaming, dreaming," laughed the squire ; " the 
little chap had taken too hearty a dinner." 

" And just now," continued Mary, " a black rash has 
broken out on one of his cheeks and the side of his 

" A black rash 1 " re-echoed the astonished squire. 


every trace of a smile leaving his face. " This must be 
looked to at once ; '* and striding into his study, Mr. 
Philimore rang the bell loudly, and in half a minute 
rang it loudly again, which brought Thomas up in such 
haste that he nearly fell over the coal-scuttle, which 
careless Sarah, the housemaid, had left in the passage. 

"Thomas, mount Brownie at once, and ride off to 
the town for the doctor 1 " cried the impatient squire. 
"Tell Dr. Grim that Master Philibert has been taken 
ill, and I beg that he'll come and see my son directly." 
Then, while Thomas hastened off to the stable to get 
Brownie saddled and bridled, the squire himself strode 
up the oak staircase to the play-room, taking two steps 
at a time. 

" A black rash, as sure as a gun, — I never saw any- 
thing like it before, — can't imagine what can cause such 
a symptom 1 " cried the squire, as he examined the fat 
little cheek which Frisket had powdered with spots. The 
squire looked grave, Sydney looked grave, Mary looked 
grave, and poor Philibert, who began to fancy that 
something very dreadful must be going to happen, was 
ready to burst into a roar. 

Fairy Frisket was astonished at all the alarm and 
trouble which she had occasioned by merely making a 
few little black dots on a mortal's cheek. Cowslips did 
not mind being speckled, the ladybird never seemed a 
bit the worse for the spots on her wings. Fairy Frisket, 


we must remember^ had never known sickness; the 
word " symptom " was like Greek and Hebrew to her ; 
she had not an idea what measles^ smallpox, or chicken- 
pox could possibly be. 

"I*m really sorry that all these moi-tals should vex 
themselves so about a little speckling/' said the fairy to 
herself; "I'll not dot Master Philibert's face any more, 
let him talk what nonsense he may/' 

The fear that he had some horrible illness coming on 
took away all poor Philibert's appetite for his breakfiast ; 
he ate scarcely quarter of a thin slice of bread and 
butter, and his nice fresh egg went untasted away. But, 
as we know, the fairy's spells never lasted very long, 
and almost as soon as Mary had cleared the breakfast 
things away, all the black dots passed away from the 
skin of her charge, causing almost as much surprise by 
their disappearance as they had done by coming at all. 

"I don't think that there can be much the matter 
with you, Master Philibert, after all," said Maiy, with a 
little sigh of relief 

" I say, Sydney, we'll go out into the woods," cried 
Philibert, as he and his companion strolled out of the 
play-room together ; . " I want to find the pit of that 
horrid spider, or ant-lion, as you call it ; — that's not a 
bad name after all, for when I was an ant it was just 
like a lion to me." 

" Oh ! I should very much like to see it 1 " exclaimed 


Sydney ; " it would interest my mother so much to hear 
all about that creature and its curious pit." 

"Won't I smash the horrid little beast, — won't I 
crush it, and stamp upon it ! " cried Philibert, grinding 
his teeth as he recalled in a spirit of fierce revenge what 
he had suffered in his fright. I may here observe, and 
I beg my young readers to remark whether they do not 
find my observation to be a true one, that they who are 
the most cowardly are very often the most cruel also. 

" You would not pimish a poor little insect for acting 
according to its instinct," cried Sydney. ''It was no 
more wicked in the ant-lion wishing to eat you when 
you were in the form of an ant, than it would have been 
for* Squire Philimore to have shot you had you been in 
the form of a hare." 

"I do hate the ant-lion though, however you may 
choose to stand up for it, and I'll kill it ! " said Phili- 
bert fiercely. 

Happily for the ant-lion, the boys in vain searched for 
its pit-fall, though they had no difficulty in finding the 
ant-hill. Sydney looked, down on the swarming pis- 
mires, with their black heads and rusty-coloured bodies, 
with a very curious feeling of interest and amusement. 

" I never knew half of your cleverness and industry, 
you fine little fellows," he cried, "till I paid you a 
visit in your home ! Nor had I a notion how very 
polite and pleasant you can make yourselves to a guest. 



No lady in her drawing-room could have had nicer 
manners or a prettier way of talking than my little 

Sydney Pierce had no idea that his courteous com- 
panion on six legs had not been an ant, but a fairy. 

"I can't say much for the mannera of wood-ants/' 
said Philibert, shrugging his shoulders; "at least / don't 
call it civil to say, ' If you don't work, we'll bite off your 
heai' " 



THE doctor's visit. 

|HILIBERT had had no appetite for his breaks 
fast, but partly on that account, after hisi 
ramble in the woods, he had a tremendous 
appetite for his dinner. 

" I wish that one o'clock would come ! " he 
had exclaimed at least half a dozen times before the hour 
actually arrived, and he and Sydney sat down to a 
capital dinner of roast-beef, which was to be followed by 
rich plum-pudding. 

Philibert, greedy as well as hungry, seized the first 
help for himself, like a very ill-mannered boy as he was, 
and was just going to put a large piece of beef into 
his mouth, when footsteps were heard in the corridor, 
the door was opened, and in stalked the thin, black- 
haired, hook-nosed, solemn-looking gentleman dressed in 
black, whom he knew to be Dr. Grim. The medical 
man was followed by Squire Philimore. 


" Come here to the doctor, Philibert/' said the squire, 
in a tone which made his son feel that the summons 
must instantly be obeyed. Slowly, and very unwill- 
ingly, wishing Dr. Grim a thousand miles off, the hungry 
boy put down his fork, and approached the medical man. 


Dr. Grim felt Philibert's pulse, examined his tongue, 
looked at his cheek. " I do not observe any trace of a 
rash such as you mentioned," he said to the squire in a 
peculiarly deep and solemn voice, such as he might have 
sjioken with had he been telling a patient that he was 
going to die. 


'*It went off as suddenly as it came on, sir," said 
Mary, to whom the puzzled squire looked for an ex- 

Again the doctor solemnly laid his cold fingers upon 
Philibert's fat little wrist. "Not a bad pulse," he 
gloomily observed, — ^whatever he might say, his manner 
was gloomy. "Pray," continued Dr. Grim, addressing 
himself to Mary, " have you noticed anything peculiar 
about the young gentleman ? " 

" He has been exceedingly odd, sir, in his ways, both 
yesterday and to-day." 

" What had he for dinner yesterday ? " inquired the 
doctor ; while poor Philibert, hungry as a raven, was 
stealing furtive glances at the dinner-table, to which he 
longed to return. 

" Veal cutlets, sir," replied Mary. 

" Veal cutlets — most unwholesome 1 " said the doctor : 
" that would account for any derangement of the system. 
Did the boy eat anything besides ? " 

" Green-gage tart, sir ; but he scarcely would touch it, 
he said that it tasted like soap." 

The doctor nodded his head very gravely. "That 
shows that something was wrong," he observed. 

" Wrong with the tart — not with me ! " exclaimed 
Philibert, who could not restrain his impatience even in 
the presence of his father and the medical man, for whom 
he had a considerable awe. 


" The tart was as good a one as ever was baked," 
observed Mary. '* I tasted it myself, and Master Pierce 
enjoyed it very much ; but then he had not touched the 
veal cutlets.'* 

Again the doctor nodded his head, like one who begins 
to see his way clearly. 

*' You said, Mary, that my boy awoke this morning 
with a scream," observed Squire Philimore. 

" A dreadful scream, sir, as if he were frightened out 
of his wits ; and yesterday he roared out at dinner, — 
Master Pierce heard him as well as myself. He cried 
out that something had stung him on the ear, but 
though we searched in every direction, nothing could be 
found that could possibly have hurt him." 

''What a blab she is," muttered Philibert; "if she'd 
had such a stinging as I had, she'd have roared out her- 
self like a bulL" 

" I am sure that Master Philibert could not have felt 
well this morning, he was so very fidgety and cross." 

" I was quite well, and I am quite well ; never better 
in my life ! " exclaimed Philibert angrily, trying, but in 
vain, to draw his wrist from the cold grasp of the 
doctor s fingers. 

" My dear young patient," said Dr. Grim in his slow, 
solemn way, " you are not competent to judge whether 
you are or are not in good health. Loss of appetite in 
one so young is not a favourable symptom." 


"I'm as hungry as a hound — as a whole pack of 
hounds ! " cried out poor Philibert desperately. 

" But you had a distate for a nice green-gage tart, and 
— ^as I've heard from your father — you scarcely touched 
your breakfast this morning. It is clear that you are 
not as well as we wish you to be ; but I think," here the 
doctor turned and addressed himself to the squire, "I 
think that we can soon put matters to rights. I will 
send a little medicine to be taken at night." 

Philibert made a wry face, — he knew too well by 
experience what the doctor's medicine was like. 

"And in the meantime," continued Dr. Grim, "our 
young patient, who is of somewhat too full a habit, must 
be kept to very light and simple diet. He must be 
given nothing but weak beef-tea, barley-gruel, and toast 
and water." 

Such a sentence was dreadful to the famishing boy. 
" I want my roast-beef? " he exclaimed; and but for the 
presence of the squire and the doctor, Philibert would 
have stamped and roared with disappointment and pas- 

" Weak beef-tea and barley-gruel," repeated Dr. Grim 
with grave decision ; " and he must not fail to take the 
medicine at night. Any one can see that the poor child 
is suffering;" the tears were rolling down Philibert's 
cheeks, but he was only suffering from disappointment, 
hunger, and passion. 


" I am glad, however, that you seem to think that 
nothing very serious is the matter with my poor little 
man," said the squire. " I thought myself that his com- 
plaint was only from a little over-feeding." 

" Veal cutlets he must never touch again," observed 
the doctor. 

" Sydney, my boy, I'm afraid that your roast-beef is 
getting cold," said the kind-hearted squire, turning 
to wards, his little guest, who had been patiently waiting 
till the doctor should leave before beginning his meal. 
" Set to your dinner, and eat plenty ; there's no fear of 
your taking too much. And you, Marj'^, go to the cook, 
and see about the beef-tea and the barley-gruel at once." 

" I hate gruel — I never can touch it ! mayn't I have 
plum-pudding at least ? " almost sobbed out Philibert. 

" Plum-pudding ! " echoed the doctor, looking as he 
might have done had his patient asked for a dish of 
poison, " Beef-tea and gruel — and not much of them — 
must you have for your dinner; if you touch either 
meat or pudding, I'll not be answerable for the conse- 

And perhaps the doctor was not very far wrong after 
all, though of course the effects of Fairy Frisket's sting- 
brush and wand had misled him, as they had misled the 
squire and Mary, for none of his learned books had made 
any mention of fairies. Poor greedy Philibert was pro- 
bably none the worse for a day of fasting, for he was, as 



the medical man had observed, of too full a habit, being 
usually inclined to eat more than was really good for 
his health. But a miserable day was passed by the 
spoiled and self-indulgent child, who was tortured with 
actual hunger, so that he almost envied the natives of 
Africa their dish of white-ants or termites. 


I'd be a butterfly. 

^HILIBERT PHILIMORE had gone to sleep 
hungry, and he awoke more hungry still ; 
never before in the course of his life had the 
squire's pampered boy felt such a craving for 
food. It did cross his mind that it must be 
a dreadful thing to be poor and hungry every day in 
the year. Philibert now could feel some real pity for 
the Garlands, — the sick father unable to work, the thin 
children who for months had not known what it was to 
eat until they were satisfied ; for what Sydney and the 
squire had liberally bestowed had chiefly gone to pay 
rent. It would be an excellent lesson for many a spoiled 
child who cares nothing for the sufferings of the poor, 
were he to feel, as Philibert did, for one day, how keen 
are the pangs of hunger. 

Philibei*t was not only inclined to be more ready to 
pity, but, perhaps for the first time, he had known 


something of the feeling of gratitude. Sydney had 
been very kind indeed to his young companion when he 
believed him to be unwell, and knew that he was pining 
for solid food. Sydney had read aloud in the evening 
till his throat had grown weary and hoarse, and had 
then tried to amuse Philibert in every other way that 
he could think of. Sydney had even given away to the 
squire's son the present which he himself had been pre- 
paring for his mother, — a beautiful little model of the 
old gateway of Fairydell Hall, which he, with great 
labour and care, had cut out of old corks, gumming 
little bits of moss over parts of it to give the effect of 
ivy. No brother could have been kinder to Philibert 
than Sydney had been, no sister more gentle and 
thoughtful ; his conduct had had a far more softening 
effect upon Philibert Philimore than Fairy Frisket's 
sting-brush, or even her green-tipped wand. 

"Oh! Mary, will you never get breakfast ready?" 
exclaimed the impatient boy. *' I can eat at least half 
a dozen eggs, so mind that you bring me plenty T' 

• " Indeed, Master Philibert, I doubt that you should 
have one, before you see Dr. Grim again." 

"But I must and will have one!" cried Philibert; 
" I should like one as big as my head ! Do make as 
much haste as you can, for I am dying of hunger 1" 

If Philibert was only allowed to have one egg, and 
that not a large one, for breakfast, he made up for this 


by his vigorous foray upon the slices of bread and butter. 
Mary could hardly spread and cut them as fast as her 
young charge ate them ; and Sydney could not help 
laughing to see how the loaf wb& disappearing under the 
attacks of Philibert's appetite. The squire's son enjoyed 
his breakfast as much as if the fairy had stirred his food 
with the golden end of her wand, and Mary felt satisfied 
that nothing was now the matter with her ti*oublesome 

After breakfast the two boys went out as usual into 
the delightful grounds which surrounded Fairydell HalL 

" I should like to have another hunt for that horrid 
ant-lion/' said Philibert Philimore. 

Happily for the little "grave-digger," as Sydney 
called the insect, his sandy pitfall was not to be found, 
and Fhilibert amused himself with running races on the 
lawn with Sydney Pierce, more to his own enjoyment 
than to that of his guest, for Sydney, though strength- 
ened by his visit to Fairydell Hall, waa yet too delicate 
to be fit for any violent exercise. While Sydney was 
stopping to recover his breath, pressing his hand against 
his side, Philibert caught sight of a beautiful butterfly, 
and instantly gave chase to the insect. 

Now butterflies are, as may be supposed, special pets 
of the fairies, who look upon them much as ladies look 
upon their favourite poodles or parrots. As it happened, 
this butterfly was not only a pet of Frisket, but actually 



on its way to a grand assembly of butterflies and moths 
to which that fairy had invited it. We may imagine, 
then, the displeasure M'ith which Lady Frisket, who 
chanced to be hovering near, saw the squire's son rushing 
after her guest, now almost clapping his hand over the 
fluttering insect, now, baffled and panting, hurrying in 


some other direction after the prey just escaped from his 
grasp. Faiiy Frisket flew to the rescue, and pui'suing 
the boy, as the boy pursued the insect, gave Philibert a 
violent hit with her sting-brush on the back of his hand 
just as he had succeeded in capturing the butterfly prize. 

(450) 9 

13<^ rh BE A nCTTEnFLV. 

Philibert utttaed a howl, not only of pain but of 
passion, and punished the unfortunate insect for the deed 
of the fairy, by dashing it fiercely to the ground. 

"Oh, dont kill it! dont hurt it!" exclaimed Syd- 
ney Pierce, running to the spot to plead for the beauti- 
ful creature. " Why should you be so angry with the 
pretty butterfly ? It never did you any harm." 

" Harm I if you'd been stung as I'm stung, you'd not 
say that!" exclaimed Philibert, who looked ready to 
stamp with fuiy upon the poor injured creature at his 

" The butterfly never stung you ; it has no sting," 
said Sydney. 

" I got stung in catching it," Philibert replied. 

" That was surely no fault of the butterfly ; it never 
asked or wished you to meddle with it," observed Syd- 
ney, with a smile. 

Philibert was in no mood to bear even the mildest joke. 
" I'll not have you laughing at me ! " he cried fiercely ; 
" and why should you dare to interfere, if I choose to 
smash all the butterflies in the world ? " So saying, 
Philibert stamped his cruel foot upon the helpless crea- 
ture and killed it. 

" It's too bad to torment or kill any of God's crea- 
tures, just because they are weak and can't defend them- 
selves," ciied Sydney, whose gentle and generous spirit 
always rose against wanton cruelty. " My mother says — " 


" I don't care a straw what your mother says ; and 1 
won't have you lecturing me — a little, wretched, puny 
creature that you are !'* cried Philibert, all the more ex- 
cited with passion from Frisket's having given him a 
second sharp rap, this time across the bridge of his nose. 

" I am your guest, Philibert Philimore !" said the in- 
dignant Sydney, who would never himself have insulted 
any one while on a visit to his home. 

'' I know that well enough," retorted Philibert, hold- 
ing his nose, and half dancing with pain ; '' glad enough 
you are to come from your smoky den of a house, and 
get our good roast- beef and plum-pudding instead of 
endless cod-liver oil !" 

The insolent taunt stung Sydney to the quick ; had 
his mother been at her home to receive him, he would 
have asked the squire to let him instantly return thither ; 
but her absence in Scotland tied him, as it were, to the 
dwelling of the mean-spirited, inhospitable boy, who 
loved thus to insult his guest. Sydney's heart seemed 
to rise into his throat, and it was certainly no feeling of 
fear that prevented his returning the taunt with a blow. " 
But Sydney remembered that " Ae that ruleth his spirit 
is greater than he that taketh a city;'* and restraining 
himself from uttering even a retort, he turned from the 
squire's spoiled son and went off into the shade of the 
wood. Sydney could not have trusted himself, at that 
moment, to utter a single wotd. 

132 ri) BE A BUTTERFLY. 

Few things calm a troubled spirit so much as a quiet 
saunter amongst green trees and the other fair objects of 
nature. Sydney's anger had been very hot, but it soon 
cooled down when he found himself alone under the 
spreading beeches. All was so peaceful and beautiful 
there ! A sense of wrong, however, rested on the mind 
of the boy. Sydney remembered how hard he had tried 
to make Philibert happy — how he had given to him 
what his own dear mother would have valued so much — 
how he had been as kind and thoughtful towards the 
squire's son as if he had been his own brother. It is 
hard to bear rudeness under any circumstances, but 
doubly hard when it comes in return for unselfish kind- 
ness. Sydney, as he sauntered along the mossy wood- 
land path, hummed to himself one of his mother's 
favourite songs, which had been written by Shake- 
speare : — 

** Blow, blow, thou winter- wind, 
Thou art not so unkind 
As man's ingratitude ; 
Thy tooth is not so keen, 
Because thou art not seen, 
Although thy breath be rude. 
Heigh-ho ! sing, heigh-ho ! unto the green holly : 
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly : 
Then, heigh-ho, the holly I 
This life is most jolly ! 

" Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, 
Thou dost not bite so nigh 
As benefits forgot ; 


Though thou the waters warp, 
Thy sting is not so sharp 
As friend remembered not ! 
Heigh-ho ! sing, heigh-ho ! unto the green holly : 
Moat friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly : 
Then, heigh-ho, the holly ! 
This life is most jolly ! " 

Sydney was just finishing the last line of Shake- 
speare's song when he saw something on the path before 
him which attracted his attention. It was neither 
forest-flower, nor lichen, nor curious insect. It was a 
pretty little pearl brooch, which had been a birthday 
present to Philibert, and which the squire's son con- 
stantly used to fasten his collar. 

'* -Ah ! there's Philibert's brooch — the jewel that he 
is so proud of wearing!" exclaimed Sydney aloud, as he 
picked it up from the moss in which it was lying em- 
bedded. *' He must have dropped it while he was hunt- 
ing for the ant-lion here in the wood. Well, if he loses 
it, he gets what he deserves : I don't see why I should 
take the brooch to such a thankless, ill-tempered boy ; 
let it lie there till he find it — I'm sure I don't care if he 
never does !" Sydney dropped the jewel on the moss, 
walked two or three paces from the spot, and then paused. 

"Am I doing what is right?" he said, still speaking 
aloud, little dreaming that any one could hear him, 
" Am I not showing a spirit of mean revenge, and act- 
ing as I would 710^ like another to act towards me ? 
^No, no; I must forgive as I would wish to be forgiven 


myself. I'll take tlie brooch to Pliilibert directly ; lie 
may now be in trouble from its loss.'* 

Again Sydney stooped and picked up the jewel ; but 
as he raised himself, what was his astonishment at be- 
holding, poised upon a long curling fern-leaf, the most 
beautiful little creature that ever had met his gaze ! 


There was Frisket herself, with her fluttering gossamer 
robe, her tiny wand, her transparent wings, and th 
golden feEissel which she had just pulled, hanging from 
her bright girdle. In his start of delighted surprise, 
Sydney again dropped the brooch. 


'* Child of earth," said the musical voice of the fairy, 
" well may you gaze with surprise upon her whose form 
was never before visible to one of your race. I have 
twice seen your triumph over self, your pity for the poor, 
your obedience to your mother, and now your generous 
forgiveness towards one who so little deserves it. I have 
watched your control over your temper, your watch over 
your lips, your compassion for the helpless and weak. 
You have made me break my firm resolve never to show 
myself to one of the race of mankind. I thank you for 
pleading for my poor little guest ; I thank you for show- 
ing that mercy which seems so little natural to the human 

Confused, blushing, scarcely knowing how to answer 
so singular an address from the bright little being be- 
fore him, Sydney replied to Frisket : "I am very glad 
indeed, lady fairy, if I have done anything to please you. 
But I think that there must be some mistake ; I could not 
show mercy to a fairy, — I can hardly sup^DOse that any 
friend of yours could ever need my help or my j)leading." 

" No, indeed," replied the smiling Frisket, who was 
amused at such an idea ; " no fairy friend would ever 
require aid from any poor mortal. But a fairy's guest 
might, and did ; tl\e poor butterfly, crushed by your 
cruel companion, was on her way to visit me by special 
invitation. I have summoned all the butterflies and 
moths that haunt the garden and pleasure-grounds of 


Fairydell Hall to meet me at Violet Dell, a retired spot 
in this wood. They will there recite their own deeds, 
whether as caterpillar, grub, or winged creature, and 
give an account of their labours in providing homes for 
their future offspring. I have promised to the insect 
that shall be found to excel the rest in industry and 
skill, that, as a reward, I will tip her wings with gold. 
I will then feast all my guests upon honey-dew, and 
dance with them a round in the air, under the sunshiny 

*' What a pretty sight it will be ! *' exclaimed Sydney, 
to whom this " buttei'flies' ball," with a fairy for hostess, 
seemed something delightful and strange. 

'' Would you like to see it ? " asked Frisket 

" Oh ! above all things ! " cried Sydney. 

*' Then you shall take the place of my poor little 
favourite," said Frisket, " and for one hour animate the 
beautiful form out of which that cruel boy stamped the 
innocent life." 

Sydney began to consider whether he would wish to 
accept the unexpected offer of the fairy. It might be 
well to see or to sing about a "butterfly's ball and a 
grasshopper's feast," but to enjoy an insect's pleasure at 
the risk of sharing that insect's fate would be quite a 
different thing. Fairy Frisket was, however, too quick 
in her movements to allow much time for reflection. 
Sydney merely caught a glimpse of her fluttering robe 


as she flew towards him, pomatum in hand, and before he 
could utter a word — a word in human language, I mean 
— down dropped his form on the moss and fern, where 
it lay for an houi- under a tree, wrapped in the deepest 
slumber. At the same moment, the poor butterfly which 
Philibert had crushed suddenly spread its bruised and 
injured wings, animated by the mind of the boy. The 
insect flew towards a retired space in the wood, all sur- 
rounded by hawthorn, holly, and larches, garlanded by 
wild roses and blackberry sprays, and carpeted with moss 
so green that any one acquainted with the tastes of 
fairies must have guessed that it was one of their 
favourite haunts. So thick was the brushwood, so 
tangled the foliage, that the clearing in the wood was as 
much shut out from the view of man as if it had been 
fenced round with marble walls. No human foot had 
ever left its print upon that soft carpet of moss. In 
spring-time the air of the fairy dell had been fragrant 
with violets, from which Frisket had given it its name ; 
the violets had long ago faded, but pretty little pinlc 
convolvuli tinted the ground, and the tall purple fox- 
glove shook its speckled bells osrer the grass. In spring 
the nightingale had sung all night long from a hazel 
bush, while fairies danced to his music ; the nightingale 
had long been silent, but the squirrel leaped from bough 
to bough and cracked the nuts of the hazel, and the 
robin hopped lightly on the spray, and uttered ever and 

i:53 /7> BE A BCTTEJiFLY. 

anon that cheerful note which would be heard even when 
winter should have come to strip the trees of their 
foliage. A little bubbling runlet of water, very shallow 
and very clear, flowed through Violet Dell, singing its 
own soft song, making the moss still greener, and kissing 
the pretty wild flowers that trembled over its brim. The 
spot was quiet and lovely, well suited for a fairy queen 
to hold her court in when she called around her the 
bright-winged creatures of the air. It was such a spot 
as Shakespeare may have had in his mind's eye when 
he wrote his well-known song, — 

** I know a bank whereon the wild-thyme blows,— 
Where oxlip and the nodding violet grows. 

There sleeps the fairy queen, — there sleeps some times o' the nights, 
Lulled in their flowers, with dances and delights. ^ 



^H, this is delightful, this is enchanting ! " cried 
Sydney Pierce in buttei'fly language, about 
which hangs the same mystery as about that 
of the ant. None of the Lepidoptera species 
(such is the long name given to the race of butterflies 
and moths), except the death's-head moth, is, I believe, 
known to utter any sound which human beings would 
call a voice. Butterflies do not roar, or bark, or bray, 
or mew, — they neither screech nor sing ; but we may 
suppose that, like our friends the ants, the four-winged 
Lepidoptera have some way of speaking to each other 
with their quivering antennae. 

It was, indeed, very delightful to Sydney, upon that 
bright morning in August, to be able to spread wings 
to the light breeze, and to bask in the glowing sunshine ! 
Who that can imagine the pleasure enjoyed by a butter- 
fly during a life which is sometimes measured but by 



hours, would wish to shorten that little span of delight ? 
It had been amusing to Sydney to find himself in the 

DKATH'8-UEAD motu. 

shape of a pismire, able to enter and to explore a dark 
ant-hill. But how much greater was his enjoyment 
now, when he rose aloft in the air, and joined the gay 
throng of Lepidoptera that were hurrying from all quar- 
ters to join the fete given by Fairy Frisket 1 

Near the little sparkling stream, the fairy sat on her 
mossy throne to receive her guests. The throne was 
bedecked with every variety of wild flower that could 
be found, in wood, hedge, or mead, at that season, — 
every one of them spangled and tasselled with dew- 
drops, that sparkled like many-coloured jewels. A rose- 
beetle — beautiful insect! like a. great emerald in his 


armour of glossy green — had crept to the place, to act 
as the fairy's footstool ; he feared not the pressure of 
her light foot. Fairy Know-a-bit sat at his sister's side, 
to assist her judgment ; and Sydney saw with pleasure 
the familiar form of his acquaintance the learned fay. 
But even Know-a-bit had come to the butterflies' feast in 
brighter garb than that in which Sydney had seen him, 
when the home of the fairy was the large red-edged 
book in Squire Philimore's study. A gossamer robe of 
light green half covered Know-a-bit' s student's gown ; 
though, of course, the robe being thinner than gauze, it 
was easy to see through it every fold of the garment 
beneath it. A tiny white plume of thistle-down adorned 
the fairy's black cap ; and being stuck on one side of 
it, gave him quite a dashing appearance. 

What an assemblage of butterflies came fluttering 
through the air at the call of Fairy Frisket ! Sydney 
had had no idea that there were so many kinds of 
winged creatures in England as appeared now in Violet 
Dell. Some, indeed, came from various counties ; and 
except on such an extraordinary occasion as this, would 
not have been found together. But a meeting of the 
Lepidoptera held by a fairy is not a thing that happens 
every day, or even every year. 

There were the fritillaries : the silver-washed, with 
the under side of its burnished green wings streaked with 
silver; and the pearl -bordered fritillary, ornamented 


with delicate spots like the gems of the sea. The 
brimstone and clouded yellow butterflies appeared gor- 
geous in orange and gold, looking all the gayer by their 
contrast to the smaller tawny heath butterflies that had 
fluttered to Violet Dell from their home on the nearest 
common. A host of little blue butterflies appeared, 
seeming, to the fancy of Sydney, like moving azure 
blossoms. There were the chalk-hill blue, the pretty 
holly blue, and the dear little Bedford blue, the tiniest 
of British butterflies. From the top of an oak-tree 
came down in stately majesty the purple emperor, and 
the pretty painted-lady followed close behind him. The 
handsome cabbage-butterflies — the white, green-veined, 
and orange-tipped — left the squire's kitchen-garden, to 
appear at the court of the fairy. There Sydney beheld 
the magnificent peacock-butterfly, with large eye-like spots 
on its wings ; and the beautiful dappled tortoise-shell, 
throwing into the shade the tribe of modest little brown 
skippers, which some think to be connecting links between 
butterflies and moths. Moths, be it known — a genus 
called by the learned Phalaena — may be known from their 
butterfly brothers and sisters by having no little knobs at 
the end of their feelers. These little knobs, like the but- 
tons of Chinese mandarins, serve to distinguish the more 
dignified butterfly from the more lowly moth. It would be 
a great mistake to suppose that all moths are gray-tinted, 
dull little creatures, or all butterflies splendid and gay. 




One of Fairy Frisket's most splendid guests was the 
red admiral, that, to grace her feast, appeared long 
before his usual season,* — his rich dark wings streaked 
with broad bands of red and white. Of course, there 


were plenty of white butterflies, whose appearance is 
familiar to every one who has lived in the country ; 
but Sydney had never seen before one yellow and black 
flutterer, large in size, and very peculiar in shape — ^her 
hinder wings seeming to be lengthened into tails; from 

* It must have been owing to a fairy spell that such a variety of the Lepidoptera 
species appeared in the month of August. Some butterflies have both a spring and an 
autumn brood. The copper butterfly, it is said, has three broods in the year. But 
my young readers (unless specially invited by Fairy Frisket) must not expect to find 
all of her guests in any one month of the year, any more than in any one county of 
England. The brimstone butterfly, for instance, " though common in the south of 
England, is not frequent in the midland counties. It is found in gardens and flelds, 
sometimes on a sunny morning as early as February or March." 
(460) iQ 



which no doubt the handsome swallow-tail butterfly has 
been given its name. 

With the butterflies came a vast host of moths. 

Sydney saw the 
gold-tailed moth 
and the small 
ermine -moth, 
whose larvae so 
destroy the 
beauty of our 
hawthorn - trees 
in the summer. 
Then came the 
lackey- moth, 
whose caterpillar had worn so gay a livery of blue, yellow, 
and white. With these appeared the small gray and 
gieen oak-moth ; and the beautiful tiger-moth, in robes 
of scarlet, white, and brown, — the creature that, in its 
caterpillar state, is so very well known by the name of 
woolly bear. It is strange that a creeping bear should 
thus change into a winged tiger ! 

But I must not linger now to describe all the butter- 
flies and moths, or even to name them. Sydney wished 
that (as in parties given by the human race) there were 
some one to announce each guest by name on his or her 
first arrival. The little hour during which the power 
of the fancy -pomatum lasted, was not nearly long 



enough to enable Sydney to hear all the speeches 
made by various members of the gay meeting. I shall 
but give the few which he heard with curiosity and 
amusement as, one by one, the butterflies and n^oths 
preferred their claims to the prize offered to them by 
the fairy. 

First came the coarse, stout goat-moth, which brushed 
hastily past butterfly Sydney, leaving a veiy disagree- 
able odour behind her. The manner of the goat-moth 
was forward and bold : she seemed to think that she 
had a right to speak before every one else, perhaps on 
account of her age ; for she had been a larva (caterpillar) 
for three whole years before she had become a moth ! 
This is a very long life for an insect, and had given the 
goat-moth an opportunity of doing a great deal of cater- 
pillar work. 

"I've just come from my home in the old willow- 
tree," cried the goat-moth, "and I wish, lady faiiy, 
that you had chosen some better hour for your meeting ; 
for every one who knows my habits is aware that I hate 
flying about by daylight 1" 

" I am sorry to have put you to inconvenience, lady 
Goat-moth," said Fairy Frisket politely, as she bent 
down her head over a leaf of sweet-brier, which was to 
her what a scent-bottle and a fan are to a lady. The 
pretty fairy was too well-mannered to express what she 
felt ; but she wished that the goat-moth would say her 


say quickly, and fly back again, as fast as she chose, to 
her old willow-tree. 

"I have little doubt that I shall both win your 
favour and gain your prize," continued the goat-moth, 
coming much nearer to the fairy than was at all plea- 
sant to a being possessing such a delicate sense of smell. 
" I*ve famous jaws, — that is, I had when I was a larva, 
— and there's not one of the Lepidoptera that better 
knew how to use them.'* The goat-moth looked proudly 
around her as she spoke, as if to defy the whole host of 
butterflies and moths to match her exploits. " If you 
fly to my old home, lady fairy, you'll see how I've 
tunnelled and bored, making passages for myself, now 
just under the bark, now right inwards to the very heart 
of the tree. I should not wonder," the goat-moth went 
on, "if the very next gale blew the willow right down, 
— I've so weakened it with my boring, — and then I 
may boast that a single caterpillar has laid a tree low in 
the dust ! " 

A murmur of surprise was heard through the assembly 
of butterflies and moths. 

" I was not only clever in digging and boring," said 
the goat-moth, "but skilled in house-making also. I 
wish that I could have carried hither my curious cocoon ; 
but I've not half the strength now, as a moth, that I 
had when I was a caterpillar. I fonned my cocoons 
(I had more than one) of wood-chips of various sizes. 


nicely fastened together upon a silken framework. You 
observe that my boring in wood supplied me with plen- 
tiful store of building materials, besides the elegant silk 
with which nature had furnished me, in common with 
many other caterpillars." 

'' I have had the pleasure of seeing one of your in- 
genious cocoons, lady Goat-moth,'' said Fairy Frisket : 
" it was so large, that, if cut in twain, I could have used 
it for two foot-baths." This was the fairy's way of de- 
scribing the size of a cocoon about two inches long ; for, 
not being learned like her brother, the fairy knew 
nothing of the terms of measurement used by mankind. 

" I am glad that you have seen it," cried the goat- 
moth ; " I hope that you noticed its beauty ! " 

''To own the truth," replied Fairy Frisket, "the 
cocoon appeared to me to be rather rough, as if it were 
made of saw-dust." 

" But the inside — the inside ! " cried the goat-moth ; 
"nothing can be smoother and neater than it was. I 
polished it up to the highest degree, and then took a 
long nap in it during the winter, lying as snugly in my 
wooden cocoon as any bee in her waxen cell." 

Know-a-bit, who till now had been silent, though 
looking, as he always did, very wise, grave, and atten- 
tive, here put in a word. "I may be mistaken," he 
observed ; " but I think that our clever friend here, the 
lady Goat-moth, has been mentioned in ancient books, 


and that her larva is the famous Cossus, or tree-grub, 
that was well known to the Romans." 

The antennae of the goat-moth quivered with pride, 
and she looked as conceited and saucy as a moth could 
possibly look. Her deeds were then recorded in books, 
— and by Romans! She knew not what Romans might 
be, but supposed that they were probably some race of 
gigantic men, ad fairies never publish any kind of 
works ; and though some insects eat books, none have 
ever yet been known to write any. 

"And what did the Romans say of my distinguished 
ancestors ? " asked the goat-moth proudly. 

" They said that they were good eating," replied 

Fairy Frisket, polite as she was, could hardly refrain 
from laughing as the poor goat-moth dropped her wings 
in sudden mortification at an answer so unexpected. It 
seemed no great honour or pleasure to be eaten by 
Romans, whatever they might be. 

Know-a-bit, to comfort the poor insect, to whose 
pride he had given so sudden a fall, observed, — 

" The larva of the goat-moth is, I know, very remark- 
able for its prodigious strength, which, allowing for the 
vast difference between their sizes, is far greater than 
that of the most powerful man. Members of the human 
race often pride themselves on their strength of body : 
they each possess about five hundred and twenty-nine 



muscles, or organs of motion, by which they turn them- 
selves, lift burdens, bend, rise, walk, and work — do what- 
soever ihey will. But you, 
Madam Moth, in your larva 
state, were possessed of more 
than four thousand muscles ; 
and could, by means of \V\:^ . X-, V!F;^ 
them, if I mistake not, raise f U^^'^^^ W%^' 
with ease a weight more 
than ten times greater than 
your own." 

"That is wonderful!" 
exclaimed butterfly Sydney. 
"It would puzzle one to find 
a man who could easily carry on his back ten other men 
as heavy as himself! " 

'' Were it not taking up too much of the time of this 
honourable assembly," cried the goat-moth, " I should 
like to prove to them how great was my strength, by 
relating an adventure which befell me this very year, 
when I had the misfortune to fall into the hands of 
cruel man." 

"Is it possible that, after falling into the hands of 
man, you should live to tell of your adventure ? " ex- 
claimed Fairy Frisket. 

" No thanks to him," said the goat-moth. " I owed 
my escape not to man*s mercy, but to that prodigious 




Strength to which the honourable and learned fairy 
on your right hand did me the honour just now to 

" Let us hear the story of a caterpillar* s adventures, 
madam," said Know-a-bit ; and though, as it seemed to 
Sydney, some of the butterflies shook their wings im- 
patiently, — being more eager to tell their own stories 
than to listen to that of the goat-moth, — no one ven- 
tured to object, and the stout, sturdy insect thus told 
her tale. 

^jtjij^WV .. 



W^ WILL not long detain you — (I see that some of my 
hearers are a little impatient) — with an account 
of my tunnelling and boring in my favourite old 
willow-tree. One day last spring, as I was 
making my way through a bit of the timber 
particularly tough and hard, I was startled by a horrible 
noise and a sudden shock, which sent such a thrill through 
my frame as I could never forget were I to live (as I 
know that I shall not) for three more summers and win- 
ters ! A very little time passed, and then again came 
that terrible sound ; the whole tree seemed to quiver and 
shake ; and then suddenly the daylight — the unwelcome 
daylight which I shun — flashed upon me ! Some being 
of the human race was cutting down, with a bright sharp 
instrument, a branch from the tree in which I was 

It was the first time that I had ever seen a man, and 


certainly he looked to me a horrible monster ; while he 
seemed to think not much better of me. 

" Here's an ugly grub," he observed, " that's eating 
its way right into the wood ; I wonder, now, what they 
call it! I'll £ake it home and keep it. My boy is coming 
from London to-morrow, and he's curious about all these 
strange kinds of creatures ; maybe he'll like to examine 
this one. I'll put it by in the little drawer of my 

So the man carried me home. I think that I can feel 
now the pressure of his horrid, hard, rough fingers ! Hap- 
pily for me, my captor had not far to go — for the willow 
grew hard by his home — and he wanted to keep, not 
to kill me. I was soon shut up in darkness — quite 
securely, as he supposed' — in his deal-wood drawer, 

" Ha, ha ! " laughed I to myself, " here's a fine wide 
tunnel that man has bored, and very neatly he has done 
it There's plenty of room for me to turn myself here. 
But if that blundering fellow thinks that he can keep 
the free-bom caterpillar of a goat-moth his prisoner here, 
he'll find he is very much mistaken ! " 

So, feeling quite at home at that kind of labour, I set 
to work with my good strong jaws at the side of the 
drawer in which I was confined. The wood was harder 
than that of my willow ; but what cared I for that ? 
My muscles were strong, my spirit was bold ; before 
night was over, I had gnawed my way right through the 


side of the drawer, and when the daylight dawned I was 
crawling down what the man had called a table. I might 
have thought it the stem of a sapling tree, but that it 
had neither sap within it nor bark upon it. 

It now appeared to me that all my worst troubles 
were yet to come. I suppose that I was in one of man's 
dwellings. I don't know whether he calls it a cocoon ; 
but if a cocoon it be, it is one of prodigious size, and it 
puzzled even the grub of a goat-moth to know how to 
make her way out of it. • 

As I was wondering in which direction I should turn, 
to my horror in came my human enemy, and almost put 
his foot upon me as I was crawling over the floor. 

" Why, if that caterpillar has not eaten its way out !" 
he exclaimed. •' What jaws the ugly creature must 
have ! But I'll put it into a tumbler ; it can't bite 
through glass, I'll be bound." 

Again he took up his unlucky prisoner, and writhe 
and twist as I might, I could not escape from those 
dreaded fingers which held me so firmly. I was dropped 
into a bright kind of cocoon, that looked as if made of 
pure water, for I was able to see right through it: it did 
not shade me at all from the daylight, as my dear old 
willow had done. But this was by no means the worst 
of it. This tumbler was a hundred times harder than 
any wood that I ever had met with. In vain I tried to 
bite the smooth slippery surface ; the man had spoken 


tx>o truly, not even the grub of a goat-moth could make 
its way through what he had called glass. 

*'I'm a lost caterpillar!" sighed I, as I lay at the 
bottom of the tumbler, quite worn out with my fruitless 
efforts. But I did not lie long inactive in my prison. 
" Up and be doing — never despair ! " is the motto of the 
goat-moth larva. " I am not only strong to bite,'' I said 
to myself, '' I am also clever to spin. I can not only 
bore a tunnel through wood, I can make a ladder of silk." 

Gaining new vigour and courage from hope, I instantly 
set to work. I found, to my joy, that though my jaws 
could make no mark upon glass, yet that my gummy 
silk would, stick to its surface. Bravely I went' on with 
my labour, and before very long my strong wedge-shaped 
head was peeping over the edge of the tumbler. 

" How shall I descend now?" thought I. " I must let 
myself down, as I helped myself up, by a silken ladder." 

I might have saved myself the trouble of thinking, for 
the man — my tormentor — at that moment caught sight 
of his active prisoner. 

" Why, if this lively caterpillar isn't making its es- 
cape again ! " he exclaimed. " The creature seems re- 
solved to get off* one way or another ; but I'm more than 
a match for a gi'ub, though I never saw the like of this 

So saying, my tormentor knocked me down again to 
the bottom of my glass cocoon or prison, and then 


suddenly turned it over, giving me another tumble in 
the tumbler, on the hard surface of what I heard the 
man call a plate. The hard, sUppery, shining glass 
now shut me in above, as well as all around, so that 
there could be no possible use in climbing. Below me 
was the plate, just as hard as the glass, so that there 
was not any weak point which I could attack with my 

" Now, 1*11 put a good heavy book on the tumbler, to 
keep it down," said the man, " and my ugly grub will 
be kept as secure as if locked up in an iron safe, while I 
go to meet my boy at the railway-station." 

I lay#rery still in my shining prison, till the man had 
quitted the place. Notwithstanding my fatigue, my dis- 
appointments, and my bruises, neither my courage nor 
my strength had failed me yet. As soon as I felt sure 
of not being observed, I crept round the edge of the glass 
trying to find any place where it did not quite touch the 
plate, so that I might see some opening, be it ever so 
small, into which I might squeeze my hard wedge-shaped 
head. Happily for me, just in one part there was either 
a trifling sinking in the plate, or a trifling rise in the 
glass, for the two did not exactly fit the one to the 
other, and air from without came through. Here was 
an opportunity not to be lost by the grub of a goat- 
moth ! Now were my four thousand muscles to be 
brought into play. The glass was moderately heavy, 


the book* was tremendously heavy ; but I was strong, 
bold, and determined, and I knew that my liberty, if 
not my life, depended upon the success of the eflTort 
which I was making. 

A fearful effort it was. With my head I lifted glass 
and book a little, then a little more : never surely before 
had caterpillar attempted so difficult a feat ! My whole 
head was squeezed under my prison at last ; and where 
the head can manage to go, the whole body can generally 
manage to follow. Ha, ha ! I laugh whenever I re- 
member that day, to think how the huge man must have 
looked, when he came back with his boy, to find the glass 
tumbler empty, with the big book resting upoHn it, and 
the caterpillar nowhere to be seen ! 

I was pretty well knocked up by the time that I had 
drawn my whole length through, and I stopped to curl 
myself up and rest for a little; but I dared not rest long, 
for I had a great deal of ground to crawl over, and I 
feared that the man would return before I could hide my- 
self out of his sight. Luckily for me, he had left the door 
of his great cocoon open; for what with gnawing and 
spinning, and climbing and pushing, and lifting, and 
crawling what seemed to be a terribly long way, I had 
no strength left, as you may believe, for any more boring 
through wood. Much as I dislike the daylight, I was 

* The book was Lardner's "Encyclopedia of Oardeaing;" a very heavy volnme, con- 
taining about 1600 pages. For the account of this feat, really performed by the cater- 
pillar of a goat-moth', see " Library of Entertaining Knowledge/' vol. zL, p. 184. 


glad enough to find myself once more in the free open 
air, and not far from my own willow-tree. How I man- 
aged to reach it, I scarcely can think ; I would have 
given anything then for the wings with which I fly now 
that the caterpillar has been changed into the moth. 
But were I now to fall again into the hands of barbar- 
ous man, as I heartily hope that I never may do, I could 
not now gnaw my way through the drawer, I could not 
now spin my ladder of silk, I could not now lift both 
tumbler and book, — I could but beat my wings against 
the glass in helpless despair ! Yes ; I could no longer 
perform these feats of strength and of skill which must 
have filled the mind of man himself with admiration and 




''HEN the goat-moth had finished her tale there 
was a great clapping, not, of course, of hands, 
but of wings, and then a few seconds of silence. 
There was not another member of the Lepi- 
doptera race present that could boast of such 
feats of strength, and the goat-moth looked proudly 
around her, as if certain that uo rival would dare to con- 
tend with her for the prize of the fairy. 

A very small moth, called the wolf-moth, had the 
courage, however, to come forward into the middle of the 
circle formed by the winged tribes around the floweiy 
throne. While the most splendid butterflies kept modest 
silence, the wolf-moth thus addressed Fairy Frisket : — 

" If your prize, lady fairy,'' said she, " were ofifered to 
the largest and strongest of our race, I should certainly 
not have taken the trouble to come here to try to win it. 
I cannot lift up a prison on my head ; and as for the 


number of my muscles, I do not believe that the sharpest- 
eyed mortal would ever attempt to count them. But 
the prize is offered to the member of the Lepidoptera 
race that has shown most skill in making her home. 
Now, if Mrs. Goat-moth is a great borer, I am a great 
borer also ; if she digs her way into old willow-trees, I 
make mine through hard deal planks. If I am not so 
big and so strong as she is, my work is all the more 

" Oh ! as for boring, we're all famous for that ! " ex- 
claimed a whole host of clear-wing moths, of which some 
looked to the eye of Sydney like wasps, and some like 
gnats (though they were neither), so that he wondered 
to see them at all amongst the Lepidoptera. 

" And so am I — so am I ! *' cried the pretty leopard- 
moth, waving her feathery antennae, and her white wings 
delicately speckled with black. "Look at the. squire's 
fruit-trees ! Ask his gardener what enemy he fears to 
find in the wood of his apple, walnut, and pear trees ! 
We all know how to tunnel and bore, and make our- 
selves snug beneath the rough bark which covers us in 
like a wall" 

It seemed to butterfly Sydney that the smaller the 
winged creature might be, the more ready it appeared to 
answer for itself, for a tiny ermine-moth was the next to 
flutter into the circle. 

Really it seems to me," she said pertly, " as if all 


these ladies, clear-wmg, goat- 
moth, and the re«t, thought that 
there is nothing in the wnrld to 
be <hiiie but to l>ore, and that to make 
holes in live ti'ees or dead wood hi the 
■'unly woik worthy nf a grub I / like tcj 
labour in thu light, where men can see 
me ; and not to laliour all by myRelfj but 
in the society uf hundreds ol" companions. 
We are workers nut in wood, but in silk ; 
we vs^eave thick webs anjnnd lioth trunk 
Hand branches of ti-ees." 

'' I have chanced to hear at the Hall, 
<innine-niuth/' observed Fairy Know-a-bit, 
" that yinn- ract.^ have devoured every leaf 
nfT some of the hawthorns in the parks and 
sij^nares of London, till the unfortunate 


trees were in June as bare as they would be in De- 

"Pray do not address me as ermine-moth; our race are 
accustomed to town life and town manners," said the 
tiny creature, " and there we are known by the name of 
Iponymeuta Padella. And pray let us not be reproached 
with eating up the leaves of the May trees. Many 
mouths make light work. The leaves grow again on the 
boughs which we have stripped when we take our chry- 
salis nap ; and while other trees look dusty and black 
with the smoke of London, those on which we have 
feasted burst out into foliage, to enjoy a second spring. 
Few. of the winged tribes have their work so much 
noticed by men as ours. The whole stem of a May tree 
will sometimes be entirely swathed in a robe of grayish 
silk, in which thousands of the spinning and weaving 
Iponymeuta Padella make their abode. Man would will- 
ingly drive us out, or smoke us out; but, ha, ha, ha! our 
numbers baffle his powers : he may slay the largest, 
fiercest beasts in creation ; he may force the horse and 
the ox to serve him and do his bidding, but the tiny 
Iponymeuta Padella keeps her own hawthorn-tree in the 
very midst oi man*s greatest city in spite of all his ill- 

" I hope that I may be allowed to speak for just a 
few moments," said the pretty little oak-moth, as with a 
timid air she came forward. " My work, and that of my 





sisters, does not show 
the strength of jaw 
possessed by the 
borers, nor perhaps 
the amount of labour 
I displayed by the spin- 
ners, of the Lepidop- 
tera race, yet may it 
be thought not unwor- 
thy of the attention 
of this great assembly. 
My friend, the choco- 
late - coloured lilac - moth 
yonder, has asked me to 
Bjj^^ak for her as well as for 
myself, as we leaf-rollers are a 
shy^ modest race, not at all accus- 
tomed to come forward on grand 
occasions like this. We make 
our homes in the leaves of the 
Tarious trees after which we are named, 
rolling these leaves into tents, and fasten- 
ing them together into whatever shape 
ijxay Vjest suit us, by thread of silk which 
we spin. The advantage which we find 
in this way of housing ourselves is this : 
our leaf supplies us at once with board 


and lodging, — we live on the leaf, while we live in the 
leaf; we can never know want, for we eat the house 
which we dwell in." Then, shyly begging the pardon 
of the fairy and all the butterflies and moths for having 
detained them so long, the oak-moth spread her delicate 
leafy-green wings, and flew back to the side of her choco- 
late-coloured friend, the moth that rolls up the leaves of 
the lilac. 

" Let none despise the art of leaf-rolling," cried the 
splendid red admiral butterfly ; or, as the learned call her, 
the Vanessa Atalanta. "I and my friend here, the 
painted lady, both choose the same way of foiming a home 
for ourselves. I have a fancy for nettles, and she for the 
leaf of the thistle. The sting of the nettle alarms not my 
bold caterpillar, though the human race seem to dread it; 
and the tough, spik}'^ thistle-leaf yields to the strength of 
the lady's powerful larva, who bends it at her good plea- 
sure to form the wall of her dwelling." 



^YDNEY had listened with such curiosity and 
interest to the accounts given by various in- 
sects of their way of forming their dwellings, 
that he had excited the attention of a beautiful 
peacock-butterfly that chanced to be near him. 

If butterflies appear lovely even to the human eye 
that cannot distinguish the plumage on their wings from 
dust, how exquisite did they seem to the microscopic 
sight of Sydney ! As he looked on the wing of the 
peacock-butterfly beside him, he beheld it covered with 
tens of thousands of the most delicate scales, one over- 
lapping another, arranged in regular rows, and tinted 
with the loveliest hues ! Never had he beheld any 
work of human art to be compared for finished beauty 
with that bright butterfly's wing. Perhaps the peacock 
was pleased with his look of silent admiration, for she 
turned to address the strano^er. 


" One would fancy," she observed, *' that all these 
things were new to you ; yet you would be as dull as a 
chrysalis if you did not know already all about boring, 
spinning, and leaf-rolling.*' 

"I am afraid that you will think me veiy stupid 
indeed, lady Peacock," returned butterfly Sydney ; 
" but I really am not quite sure what a chrysalis is." 

If an insect could look astonished, the buttei-fly cer- 
tainly did so ; as much amazed as you, dear reader, might 
feel if a companion confessed to you that he was not 
quite sure what kind of a creature a boy could be. The 
peacock, however, only observed : — " It is singular that 
you should not know the changes in your own condition. 
I see that you are a purple emperor, one of the noblest 
of oui* race, that soars aloft at noontide above the loftiest 



trees — so high that it is almost lost to view. Perhaps 
these bold flights into upper air may have some injurious 
eflFeet upon memory. I, who am of a less aspiring 
nature, have a clear recollection of all that has ever 


happened to me in my changeful life, except, of course, 
during my chrysalis slumber. I can recall the time 
when I was a black caterpillar, dotted with white, and 
armed with long black spines, feeding with numbers of 
my companions on the leaves of the common nettle." 

" Oh ! I must have seen you," exclaimed Sydney 
Pierce, who remembered a repulsive-looking caterpillar 
just answering to this description, a creature from which 
he had turned in disgust. " But who would ever have 
thought that that ugly caterpillar — I beg your pardon," 
he cried, interrupting himself, for he felt ' that he had 



just said something very rude — " that that black cater- 
pillar could ever have turned into a butterfly so exceed- 
ingly lovely ! " 

"One cannot always judge of 
butterfly by caterpillar/' observed 
the peacock good-humouredly. 

Seeing the beautiful butterfly so 
willing to enter into conversation, 
Sydney was inclined to ask a few 
questions, but expressed a fear that 
he was preventing her from listen- 
ing to the speech which the red 
admiral at that moment was making. 

" Oh ! it matters not/' replied 
lady Peacock. "I know all that 
my companion can say ; her home, 
like my own, when we were caterpillars, was amongst 
the leaves of the nettle. She used to pull those leaves 
together, and fasten them as well as she might. I re- 
member that she was then of grayish-green colour, with 
a yellowish line down each side ; and her chrysalis was 
brownish above, and gray-green below, and was adorned 
with fine golden spots. We are connected with each 
other : the red admiral is called Vanessa Atalanta, and I 
am Vanessa lo." 

" Very pretty names," remarked Sydney, " but not 
very easy to be remembered." 



" It strikes me that your memory is remarkably 
weak," observed the peacock-butterfly. " I see that 
your wings, purple emperor, have been cruelly bruised ; 
perhaps the same accident that injured them has dulled 
your wit as well as your plumage. You are the first 
purple emperor with whom I have ever conversed ; pray, 
where did you live when you were a caterpillar ? " 

" I never was a caterpillar in my life ! " exclaimed 
Sydney, who would have burst out into a roar of 
laughter had it been possible for a butterfly to do so. 

The peacock looked at him in amazement, thinking 
him doubtless a butterfly out of his wits. " Where did 
you hang when you were a chrysalis ? " she asked, with 
a little impatience. 

" I don't even know for certain what a chrysalis is,'* 
replied Sydney, who, though ashamed of his ignorance, 
was in his butterfly form as frank and truthful as he 
had been in that of a boy. 

The peacock jerked her bright wings upwards in 
astonishment ; Sydney fancied that the eyes upon them 
flashed brighter in scorn. 

'^ I wish," said the poor purple emperor, " that you 
would tell me what yoit remember, instead of asking me 
what / remember. Only I may be preventing your 
making your speech, and winning the prize from the 

" I am not going to make any speech at all," said the 


peacock. " There is nothing wonderful about my work; 
and even if there were, I should not care to have my 
wings tipped with gold." 

"They are splendid enough already," thought Sydney; 
" no fairy touch could improve them." 

" So," continued Vanessa lo, " if you like to listen to 
a very simple tale, I will tell 3'^ou what I recollect, 
though mine is but the common experience of butterflies. 
I have not, like the goat-moth, or, as we should call her, 
the Cossus Ligniperda, any curious adventures to relate." 

" I should like to hear all that you can tell me of 
your childhood — I mean your caterpillarhood," replied 
Sydney, who hoped that the power of the fancy-poma- 
tum might last until he had heard from a butterfly her 
own account of her early life and education. 

" My first recollection," said Vanessa lo, " is of break- 
ing my egg-shell, and finding myself, with a number of 
little black companions, safely cradled in the fold of a 
nettle-leaf I need hardly say that we quickly set 
about eating, that being the principal occupation of 
every caterpillar. I sometimes wonder now at my loss 
of appetite ; a little sip of honey from a fiower is all 
that I care for. When I was a caterpillar, I would eat 
up ten times my own weight in a very short time." 

" It is a happy thing," observed Sydney, " that 
human beings are not so hungry in proportion to their 


" We were troubled with no cares," continued the 
peacock. " Each of us being furnished with sharp little 
bristles, the very birds would scarcely have wished to 
touch us ; and there being so many of us together, our 
lives were very sociable and pleasant. To our minds, 
there was no plant on the face of the earth to be com- 
pared to a nettle. We grew fast : our race do grow 
very fast ; four-legged and two-legged creatures do not 
increase in size and weight as we do, or a kitten would 
grow into a cat bigger than the largest waggon that ever 
moved along the highroad, with whiskers as long as 
corn-stalks I I never remember being frightened but 
once, and that was when a donkey came browsing by 
the side of the highroad, and cropped off a thistle that 
was growing quite close to our leafy retreat. The only 
trouble which I knew at this period of my life was that 
of changing my skin." 

" Changing your skin I '* exclaimed Sydney. 

" Of course I changed it,'' said the butterfly, surpiised 
at her companion's look of wonder. " It's the most 
natiu^ thing in the world to get out of one's skin." 

" I can't say that I think so," observed Sydney. 

" Why, I* thought that all creatures did so," said the 
peacock, whose knowledge was, of course, of a very 
limited kind. '' Snakes do so, as well as caterpillars ; I 
am not quite sure about donkeys and horses, but human 
beings certainly change their skins." 


" I never heard that before/' exclaimed Sydney, his 
wings shaking with mirth. 

" I've seen a man changing his skin — IVe seen it 
with my own eyes/' said Vanessa lo, in a very positive 
manner, for she was rather provoked at the doubt ex- 
pressed by what she considered to be the most stupid 
butterfly in existence. " A man came close up to the 
hedge under which our nettle-plant grew, and he pulled 
oflF the skin from all the upper part of his body in*a 
twinkling. He seemed to have no trouble such as we 
have. Instead of feeling languid and sickly as we do, 
as soon as he had thrown off the skin, he set to work at 
clipping the hedge with the greatest activity and vigour." 

" It was not his skin, but his jacket, that the man 
pulled off! " cried Sydney, extremely diverted at Vanessa 
lo's mistake. 

" I don't know what you mean by a jacket," replied 
the butterfly, rather offended. " It was an old brown 
skin, and the new skin under it was whitish, with a 
brown line on each side. The oddest part of the busi- 
ness was, that when the man had done clipping the 
hedge, he came, stooped down, picked up his old skin, 
and put it upon his body again. A caterpillar would 
have scorned to do such a thing ! " 

" Caterpillars don't wear jackets,*' murmured Sydney 
to himself, thinking what strange, ridiculous mistakes 
may be made, both by butterflies and human beings, if 



they judge of the habits and ways of others only by 
their own. 

" When I and my companions had reached our fall 
size," said Vanessa lo, continuing her accoimt, '* we felt 
that we had something to do besides eating, and so 
we began to spin, fastening coarse silken threads to the 
nettle-leaves which we lived in. This was, of course, to 
prepare a quiet resting-place in which we might remain 
during our chrysalis state. I have but a dim recollec- 
tion of what came over me after I had 
finished ray spinning. I experienced a 
kind of dulness and deadness, and then 
went to sleep at my ease. How long I 
remained in this state I know not. I 
have heard that my colour was green, 
with golden tints upon it, and that I 
hung suspended by my tail; but all that 
I myself can remember is the delight 
which I felt this morning, when I burst 
into new and glorious life 1 No more a 
prisoner to earth, I soared aloft in the air ; my home 
no longer a nettle — my motion no longer wiiggling or 
crawling ; the creeping thing had been given wings — 
the black, spiny caterpillar had become — " 

" Dear me 1 " exclaimed Sydney, awaking suddenly 
from his slumber under the tree, and rubbing his eyes ; 
'* here am I, down again upon the earth, not a butterfly. 




but a boy ! It almost seems to me as if I had come 
down to a caterpillar state, as I cannot rise one yard 
from the ground. I wish that I could have heard the 
end of Madam Peacock's story. I'm afraid that she will 
set down purple emperors as the most uncivil as well as 
the most stupid of butterflies. Well, I have at least 
learned one good lesson, — Not to despise or to dislike 
the most common and most ugly of creatures, since the 
black spiked and spotted caterpillar of the nettle turns 
into the glorious peacock-butterfly ! " 



•E will now return to Philibert Philimore, whom 
we left on the lawn in pain and out of temper, 
ready to quarrel with all the world, because 
discontented with himself. No. sooner had 
he, by his insolence, driven Sydney Pierce from 
his side, than Philibert bitterly repented of his folly. 
It was not only that he felt dull and dreary when thus 
left all alone, but that as soon as his pain had lulled, and 
his passion had time to cool, Philibert began to consider 
that he had been imkind and unjust, and ungrateful too, 
in his conduct towards Sydney. Young Philibert re- 
membered how aflFectionate and good his companion had 
been to him during the preceding day ; how ready 
Sydney had shown himself to give up his own pleasure, 
his own will ; how thoughtful he had been of the comfort 
of the boy who had now requited his kindness with in- 
sult Before the visit of Sydney to Fairydell Hall, Phili- 

A FftlEND IN NEED, 177 

bert had thought little about anything but what con- 
cerned his own enjoyment ; he had been a thoroughly 
selfish boy. But the constant example of one who con- 
sidered others, and found his pleasure in giving pleasure, 
had not been without its efiect on the mind of the squire's 
spoiled son. Philibert had learned to believe, though he 
acted as if he did not remember, that 

" To live for self is to live for sorrow ; 
The well-spent day brings the happy morrow; " 

and he could not now do what was very wrong without 
feeling uneasy afterwards. 

Philibert was now exceedingly lonely and sad. Sydney 
had gone into the woods, and Philibert knew that it 
would be no easy matter to find him there ; and even if 
he should find him, young Philimore felt that unless he 
should ask his companion's pardon, it could hardly be ex- 
pected that what had passed would be forgiven and for- 

A noble-minded and generous-hearted boy, in Philibert's 
position, would have determined to do the wise and right 
thing at once, — by all means in his power show his regret 
for his conduct, and try, as far as he could, to make 
amends to his friend. But Philibert, though beginning 
to see what was the course of duty, had not brave re- 
solution to follow it. He was vexed with himself, he 
was imhappy ; he felt not only that he was in trouble, 
but that he had deserved to be so; yet, instead of making a 

(450) ^2 


struggle to get out of it agaiu, the spoiled boy only sat 
down upon a seat at the edge of the lawn, and burst into 

" Why, Philibert, my little friend, what is the matter?" 
said a sweet gentle voice, as some one approached him, 
walking over the closely-mown grass. Philibert had no 


need to look up through his tear-dimmed eyes to know 
who was speaking to him, for no one but Angela May, 
the vicar's daughter, ever spoke in so loving a tone to 
the squire's motherless boy. If the selfish heart of 
Philibert really cared much for any one in the world but 


himself, it was for her who had more than once soothed 
his childish sorrows by speaking to him holy words of 
counsel such as he had seldom lieard fi'om any lips but 
her own. 

Philibert made no answer to the question of the lady, 
so Angela came and sat down by his side. Taking his little 
fat hand in her own, and speaking as a kind elder sister 
might speak, she asked him the cause of his sorrow. 

" Sydney has gone away,*' half sobbed the unhappy 

" What I — back to his home?'* inquired the young lady. 

" No ; yonder — into the wood." 

" Is that all ? We soon shall find him," said Angela 
cheerfully. " Shall you and I go exploring together ? " 

" I don't want to find him ; I won't go after him," 
muttered sulky Philibert. 

"What 1 has Sydney treated you unkindly ? " asked 

Philibert, with all his faults, was too honourable a 
child to say " Yes," though his pride would not let him 
honestly answer " No." As a kind of half-measure, he 
replied, " He didn't want me to kill the butterfly — that 
was no business of his I " 

" And why should you kill it ? '* said Angela, softly 
pressing the hand which she held. " O dear Philibert ! 
there is so much sorrow and pain in this world, that I 
could not bear to inflict one needless pang upon one of 


God's creatures. Let them be happy while they may, 
and make me glad by seeing them happy. Do you not 
remember the beautiful promise in the Bible, Blessed are 
ike merciful, for they shall obtain mercy V* 

" I am sorry that I killed the butterfly," said Phili- 
bert in a very low tone. 

" If you tell Sydney that you are sorry, why should 
not you and he be happy together again ? " 

*' He's angry with me — I jeered him — I called him 
a bad name — I said that I didn't care for his mother ! " 
murmured Philibert. 

" Then you will go and frankly ask his forgiveness," 
said Angela. 

" No, I won't ; I won't ask Sydney's forgiveness," 
cried Philibert, flushing with pride, and drawing his hand 
away from the gentle clasp of Angela's. The squire's 
son was silly enough to fancy himself above Sydney 
Pierce, because his own father happened to be much richer 
than his companion's widowed mother. To ask forgive- 
ness is always humbling to pride, and Philibert shrank 
from doing so. 

"Dear PhiUbert," said his friend, "I think that I 
know something of what is passing in your heart now, 
for I too have a heart in which wrong thoughts and 
proud feelings will often arise, and they have given me 
more trouble than anything else in the world." 

Philibert looked up with surprise into the gentle face 


of the lady. He knew that every one acquainted with 
her character spoke of the goodness of the vicar s daugh- 
ter ; and he had heard it observed that she was rightly 
called ADgela, for that she had the temper of an angel, 
Philibert could hardly believe that she had ever been 
troubled by pride or ill-humour; but when he looked into 
her honest blue eyes, he could see that she had spoken in 

"Yes, Philibert, I have to pray earnestly to God 
to help me to conquer myself, my unruly passions, 
my rebellious will ; and I have to keep a very close 
watch indeed over the enemies within, lest they take 
me unawares, and get the victory over me. There is 
one thing which I have made a rule always to do, 
though, like yourself, I have often felt very unwilling 
to do it." 

" And what is that ? " asked Philibert, who still could 
hardly believe that Angela, so good, so gentle, so kind as 
she was, could ever really have an inward struggle such 
as she spoke of. 

" Whenever I have spoken an unkind or hasty word, 
I first ask forgiveness of God (for we must never forget 
that to sin is to displease our Heavenly Father) ; and then 
I make it my rule to ask pardon openly of the person, 
whoever he or she may be, whom my word may have 

" Not if she were a servant ! " said Philibert. 


" If a servant, if a school-child, if a beggar," replied 
Angela May. 

" I don't believe that you have often to ask pardon at 
all," said the boy. 

"Not very often of my fellow-creatures," answered 
the vicar's daughter ; " at least, not very often since I 
was a very young girl. The knowledge that my con- 
science would have no peace, that I could not rest till I 
had made what amends I could for hasty speaking, has 
had a wonderful effect in helping me to curb my tongue, 
and control a temper naturally hasty. Now, dear Phili- 
bert, let me advise you, as a friend, to adopt this little 
rule of mine. When you are convinced that you have 
been ungenerous, unkind, or unjust to any one, take the 
very first opportunity of frankly asking forgiveness." 

Philibert looked uneasy and grave. " I don't think 
that I need say anything to Sydney this time/* he ob- 
served, speaking slowly, and after a pause. " He is such 
a good-natured fellow, that I daresay when we meet he'll 
go on just as if nothing had happened. After all, it 
does not much matter to him whether I say that I'm 
sorry or not." 

" But it does matter to you, dear Philibert;" and again 
the soft hand of Angela rested upon that of the boy. 
" You have owned to me that you have done wrong, and 
never can true peace be yours till you have made what 
amends it is in your power to make." Seeing that 


Philibert looked undecided, the young lady went on : — 
" I am reminded of a little incident which happened to 
myself when I was a child, not so old as you are now. 
I lost my way in your woods, into which I had wandered 
to look for nuts. I became frightened and anxious, for 
I knew not in what direction to turn. The more I tried 
to get out of the thicket, the fiirther and further I seemed 
to wander into it. The ground was moist with recent 
rain, and the print of my little shoes could be seen on 
many parts of the path by which I had come. I often 
thought of retracing my steps, but I was very unwilling 
to do so, for I knew that I should have many brambles 
to repass, and I hoped to make some short cut, and get 
to the edge of the wood by some nearer and pleasanter 
way. But all my hopes were vain. I grew sadly weary 
and disheartened ; the shadows were falling around me, 
and though I had called out till my voice was hoarse, no 
one had come .to my help. 'I must go back on my 
steps after all,' thought I, resolving to do at last what I 
ought to have done as soon as I had found that I had 
lost my way. But I had made up my mind to take the 
right course too late. I could but track my footsteps 
for a few yards, before it became too dark for me to see 
the prints. After trying and failing, I sat down in de- 
spair, and cried as if my heart were breaking. Darker 
and darker grew the night, more piercingly chilly the 
air, and I became very faint with hunger, terror, and cold. 


If my friends had not come with torches to seek for 
their little lost child in the wood, I do not suppose that 
I should have lived to see the dawn of the morning." 

Philibert had listened with interest to Angela's ac- 
count of her childish adventure, not uttering a word 
until she had ended it. He then observed : " I like your 
story, but I don't see that it has anything to do with my 
asking Sydney's forgiveness." 

" I have often thought of that evening in the woods, 
dear boy, when, having wandered from what I felt to be 
the straight way of duty, I have found myself in any 
doubt as to how I should return to it. I seem to hear a 
voice in my heart (there is such a voice in yours, dear 
Philibert), saying, Retrace your steps at once, do not 
wait till it be too late to do so. Especially in this mat- 
ter of asking forgiveness, let us try no round-about way. 
Let us never be content with a hope that, through the 
generous forbearance of one whom we Jiave offended, 
things will go on again as if nothing had happened. Let 
us force ourselves, however our pride may rebel, to own 
that we have done wrong. The pain of such a confession 
is soon over; we have probably regained a friend; we 
have certainly done what is pleasing in the sight of our 
Heavenly Father, and are likely to enjoy once more that 
holy peace of mind which can never be ours while we 
have one unrepented sin." 

" Angela, I will — I will ask Sydney to forgive me I " 


cned Pliilibert, rising from his seat. "I wish I had 
you always with me to tell me what is right ; I have not 
a mother, as Sydney Pierce has, or pwhaps I should be 
more like him." 

These were lowly words to fall from the lips of the 
squire's spoiled boy ; they gladdened the heart of Angela 
May, and rising, she gave Philibert a kiss as loving as 
might have been pressed on his cheek by his own mother 
had she been living. Perhaps it was the pressure of 
Angela's hand upon Philibert' s shoulder that made his 
little collar fall off upon the grass. The young lady 
stooped and picked it up. 

" I thought," observed Angela, as she gave it to Phili- 
bert, *' that your collar was fastened with a little pearl- 

" Oh yes ; I hope it is safe ! " exclaimed Philibert in 
a tone of alarm. 

"I can see no brooch," replied Miss May, bending 
down and looking to the right and to the left. Philibert 
fell on his knees to search ; the grass had been so closely 
mown, that had the brooch been there he must have 
seen it almost directly. 

Angela examined the boy's dress, to see if the brooch 
had by any chance dropped under the velvet. Philibert 
shook himself violently, in the faint hope that the jewel 
might drop out of some fold. AH was in vain, and the 
little boy looked ready again to burst into tears. 


" Oh, papa will be bo vexed, so dreadfully vexed ! " 
exclaimed Philibert. " He gave me that brooch on my 
last birthday as such a very great present, for it had been 
mamma's before she married. Papa made me promise 
that I would take such care of it, and never part with 
it all my life long ; and now IVe lost it — I've lost it ! " 
Philibert shook himself violently again, but rather from 
vexation than from any hope of shaking out the brooch. 

" We must search for it well ; never despair of finding 
it. Where have you last been ? " inquired Angela May. 

"In the woods yonder," replied Philibert; "we were 
hunting for an ant-lion. We could not find that, and I'm 
afraid that we shall never find such a very little thing 
as my pearl-brooch neither." 

" We will try at least to do so," said Angela ; " come, 
and I will help you to search. How glad we shall be if 
we discover it at last ! " And taking hold of Philibert's 
hand, the young lady went with him to the wood, look- 
ing carefully about her from side to side, as her compan- 
ion retraced (as far as he could remember them) the steps 
by which he had come. 

For more than an hour Philibert and Angela thus 
searched for the brooch, the young lady trying to cheer 
and encourage the boy, who grew sadly tired and dis- 
heartened, and who, but for her, would have soon given 
up in despair all attempt to find his lost treasure. It 
was exceedingly inconvenient to Angela to give up so 


much of her time. She had come to see the gardener of 
Fairydell Hall, to procure from him some cuttings of rare 
plants which the squire had offered to give her, and had 
intended to hasten back as quickly as she could to wel- 
come a dear friend from London, whom she had not seen 
for years, and for whom she was procuring the cuttings. 
But Angela, impatient as she felf to return home, did 
not even let Philibert see that she was in a hurry. She 
seemed to have nothing to think of but how to comfort 
and help the poor little boy. This was indeed the piin- 
cipal reason why Angela's gentle words of advice were 
seldom without effect : the vicar's daughter practised 
herself what she preached; her counsels and her example 
went ever together. While Angela was helping Philibert 
to search for the jewel, that his father might not be dis- 
pleased by its loss, she found an opportunity of dropping 
in a few words about that priceless pearl, peace of con- 
science — ^that gift so far more precious than all the gems 
to be found in the land or the sea. 



JHE fairy's prize had been given, her feast of 
honey-dew had been enjoyed, the meeting of 
butterflies was over. The last bright -winged 
member of the Lepidoptera had fluttered away 
from Violet Dell ; even the rose-beetle had crept away 
from his station at the feet of the fairy. But Frisket 
still sat on her flowerj'' throne, her golden-tipped wand 
drooping from the tiny hand which held it. The blossoms 
in her wreath were beginning to fade, but the fairy did 
not seem to be inclined to spring up on her glassy wings 
to seek for fresher and brighter. 

"It can scarcely be that you are weary, my sweet 
sister fay," said Know-a-bit, who was still by her side ; 
" still less can it be that you are sad ; yet, were you a 
mortal fair, instead of a fairy, I might think that you 
now were both sad and weary. Has the meeting of 
butterflies and moths been less well attended than you 


had expected? It seemed to me, after my long seclusion 
amongst books, as if to a bed of flowers the power of 
motion had been given, petals being changed into wings, 
and stamen into antennae, till all the air was alive with 
beauty. Or were you mortified at having to bestow 
your prize upon an insect that you favoured less than 
the rest ? " 

*' I should certainly have preferred tipping the wings 
of the peacock-butterfly with gold," replied Fairy Frisket; 
"but I was not, at the moment when you addressed 
me, thinking either of butterflies or moths. They give 
me no cause for vexation or displeasure. Each has her 
own place in the world, — her leaf to roll, or her cocoon 
to spin ; she lives, works, and dies exactly as she was 
intended by nature to do. I was thinking, and, I 
own, thinking sadly, of human beings, and especially*' 
— ^here there was indignation in the tone of the little 
fairy — "of that wretched, selfish creature, Philibei-t 
Philimore ! " 

" I do not see why my fair sister should trouble her- 
self especially about him," said Know-a-bit blandly. 

"I cannot endure to see a creature endowed with mind, 
and all kinds of powers that might make him so grand 
and so noble, leading such a caterpillar life !" exclaimed 
Frisket, springing to her feet, and looking as angry as a 
pretty little fairy could look, as she struck the ground 
with her wand. " Yes, I repeat it, a caterpillai*'s life ; 


and worse than that, for he has not even taken to spin- 
ning or leaf-rolling 1 Philibert seems to care for nothing 
but eating, drinking, and amusing himself. He is ready 
indeed to sting and annoy, — some caterpillars can do that 
also, — he wantonly killed my purple emperor, he insulted 
his kind companion ; he is not only like a creeping 
creature, but a black-spotted, spiny caterpillar, in spite 
of his blue velvet dress." 

" My dear sister fay,'* said quiet Know-a-bit, smiling 
at her angry impatience, " it is the black-spotted, spiny 
caterpillar that turns into the Vanessa lo, the. bright 
peacock-butterfly, at last." 

" The selfish caterpillar of a boy will never turn into 
anything but a selfish caterpillar of a man 1 " exclaimed 
Fairy Frisket. " I have done all that I could to rouse 
and improve him ; it is no fault of mine if Philibert re- 
main the contemptible creature which he is. I've hit 
him over the ear, over the hand, and over the nose with 
my sting-brush; it only made him roar and stamp! I've 
speckled his face, I've stirred his food, I've — " 

Even sober Know-a-bit could scarcely help bursting 
out laughing at his sister's account of her fashion of im- 
proving a troublesome mortal. "That may not have 
been the best way of managing a boy," he observed; 
"you tormented his skin, you spoiled his dinner, but you 
never reached his heart." 

"His heart!" repeated Frisket more slowly, "I doubt 


whether Philibert has a heart at all ; and if he has, I 
don't know how to get at it.*' 

" Hardly, I fear," observed Know-a-bit ; " hearts seem 
to be things quite out of the reach of fairies. I have 
never found the way to Philibert's yet, though he and I 
so often have met. But you, sister fairy, have never 
shown yourself at all to that boy." 

"And never will ! " cried Frisket with petulance; "at 
least, never till that caterpillar of a boy shows himself 
able to rise a little from his nettle-leaf of selfishness and 
pride. K he did so, there is no saying whether — But 
he never will!" cried Frisket, interrupting herself in the 
middle of her sentence. 

"But suppose that Philibert should rise from that 
nettle-leaf? " said her brother. 

" Then indeed I would pull my tassel, then would I 
show myself to a mortal, and he should meet the smile, and 
enjoy the favour, and receive the gifts of Fairy Frisket." 

While this conversation between the fays was going 
on in Violet Dell, at another part of the wood Angela and 
Philibert, now thoroughly wearied with the fruitless 
search for the brooch, were seated on the trunk of a 
fallen tree, earnestly talking together. 

"I suppose — I suppose that I ought to do it," said poor 
Philibert with a heavy sigh ; " but it will be harder to 
confess to papa that I have lost the pearl-brooch, than to 
beg Sydney's pardon for my rudeness. Papa will be not 


only vexed, but angry ; for he forbade me ever to wear 
that brooch when I played about in the wood." 

" You see, dear boy, that the good resolutions which 
you have been making will be put at once to the proof," 
said Angela May. "You have a thorny bit of gi-ound to 
go over ; you have to conquer fear, as well as to wrestle 
down pride. But when you lay your head down on your 
pillow to-night, how thankful you will be if you can re- 
member a painful duty performed, a victory won over self." 

"I do mean to turn over a new leaf, I do mean to try 
to be a different boy from what I have been," said 
Philibert ; " and I will ask for help as you have told me 
to ask. I hope in time to think of others, as you and 
Sydney are always doing, and be loved as you and he are. 
But before I go home and confess to papa that I have 
lost my pearl-brooch, would you mind helping me to 
search for it just a little longer? Oh! how glad I should 
be to find it! Never will I disobey papa again by wear- 
ing it in the wood." 

Tired as she was, and very anxious to get back to her 
home, Angela May would not refuse the request of her 
poor young friend. The two began again their weari- 
some search, shaking fern leaves, examining mosses, 
looking in likely and unlikely places for the jewel which 
Philibert had dropped. 

"Oh! there's Sydney!" exclaimed Philibert suddenly; 
" how I do hate having to ask his forgiveness ! " 


"Don't delay — do the right thing at once, or your 
resolution may fail you," said Angela. 

Little Philibert's cheek had been pale with weariness, 
but now it grew red with shame, as, making a strong 
brave eflfort to overcome his dislike to humbling himself, 
he ran up to his companion, while Angela followed more 

''Sydney — ^I beg your pardon — I've behaved very 
badly — I hope you'll forgive me 1 " gasped Philibert, out 
of breath, less from the effect of running than from the 
difficulty which he had in bringing out such a sentence. 

"Oh! don't think about that any more, dear PhUibert," 
cried Sydney Pierce in his open, frank, kindly way. 
" See, here's something of yours that I've found." And 
he held out the little pearl-brooch. 

Philibert jumped for joy at the sight ; he seemed to 
be getting back his jewel and his peace of mind together. 

" Oh ! you dear old fellow I '* he exclaimed, grasping 
the hand which Sydney held out with the brooch, and 
wringing that hand warmly ; " you don't know what a 
kindness you have done me. I am ten times more sorry 
than I was before at having treated you so badly, since 
you return my evil with good. But I'm going to try to 
be a very different companion to you in ftiture; I'm going 
to try to keep my temper, and remember my duty, and 
forget myself, like you and dear Angela May." 

An exclamation of astonishment burst from the lips of 



the young lady, who came up to the boys at that moment, 
an exclamation not caused by her having overheard the 
last sentence of Philibert. The boy, who had glanced 
towards her as he spoke, struck by the amazement and 
admiration expressed in Angela's face, followed the di- 


rection of her eyes, and uttered in a loud tone of de- 
light, " Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful fairy ! *' 

Yes; Fairy Frisket had pulled her tassel, and Know-a- 
bit had pulled his, and there they appeared in full sight 
of three mortals, poised on their glassy wings, their gossa- 
mer robes glistening in the sunlight that streamed through 


openings between leafy boughs, — the loveliest little brother 
and sister that ever were seen. Angela, who had never 
even heard of Know-a-bit, was, of course, the most aston- 
ished of the three spectators; but Philibert Philimore, the 
once spoiled boy, was perhaps the happiest of them all, as 
he listened to the tinkling music of Fairy Frisket's address : 
" Philibert Philimore, you have learned a lesson, and 
one has been taught even to a fairy! I have learned that 
good words may have more power . than a sting-brush, 
kindly deeds than the wand of a fay ! — 

Not gilded rod of fairy-wood, 
But love, content, and gratitude, 
Give sweetest taste to common food. 
Make everything seem fair and good ! 

Oh that every self-willed child would try to cast off his 
old evil habits, as the black larva casts off his dark skin, 
and would rise to a higher, nobler, happier existence, far 
above the nettle-leaf of selfishness, — as from the creep- 
ing, crawling caterpillar springs up into glorious life the 
bright- winged Vanessa lo ! " 


Amazon-Ants (Formica ru/escdtM), .. 49 

Ant-Lion (MyrmaUon formiearitu), 106 

AphLs, 65 

Blue-Bntterflies, 142 

Brimstone-Butterfly, .. .. 142 

Cabbage-Butterfly {Pontia brasHca), 142 

Clear-wing Moth, ^161 

Clouded Yellow Butterfly, .. ..142 

Ermine-Moth (Fpontmen^a podella), 161 

Foraging- Ants, 72 

Fritillaries, 141 

Ooat-Moth (CoMiM iHjmiperda), .. 147 

Heath-Butterfly, 142 

Lackey -Moth {Cliaio eampa neua- 

tria), 146 

Leaf -rollers, 164 

Lepidoptera, 139 

Leopard-Moth, 161 

Negro- Ants, 51 

Painted-lady Butterfly {Cynthia ear- 
dux), 142 

Peacock Butterfly [Vanetsa lo), .. 166 

Purple Emperor Butterfly {Satvmia 

pavonia), 167 

Pupas, 53 

Bed Admiral, or Admirable Butter- 
fly (Fan^ssa ^Italanto), .. 165 

Skippers, 142 

Swallow-tail Butterfly (Papilio ma- 

ehaon), 146 

Tiger-Moth Ufr<ta efl(;a}, .. ..146 

Tortoise-shell Butterfly {Vanena ter- 

tica), 142 

White- Ants, or Termites, .. .. 40 

Wolf-Moth, 160 

Wood-Ants, or Pismires {Formica 

rvfa\ 49 

Woolly Bear, 146